After a relatively uneventful journey and a short stay in Wooster, we’ve made it to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. We’re spending the week analyzing our samples on Dickinson’s X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) and X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD). First, we need to turn our rocks into powder. We typically begin by cutting down the sample on a rock saw.
Then we grind the smaller pieces to get rid of any contamination introduced by the saw.
The samples get cleaned in a sonicator.
And the clean samples get set out to dry.
Finally, the samples can be crushed. We can crush them in a shatterbox or by hand using an agate mortar and pestle.
Voila! We have powder!