#RealTimeChem and Powdering Fossils

Continuing on with #RealTimeChem week (@RealTimeChem on Twitter), here’s something that not too many ‘traditional’ chemists have to do, but geochemists have to do all the time. It’s not very often when you can just stick a rock into an instrument and take a geochemical measurement. Usually, the rock (or fossil, in this case) has to be powdered first.

For my own research, I’m usually interested in isotopes of carbon and of oxygen, which provide information about plant life (diets of animals, habitats) and climate (temperature, humidity, precipitation), respectively.

As in my last #RealTimeChem post, I’ll mostly be using tweets to illustrate what I was doing. These will have to go through the same chemical pretreatment as in my last post, but then will undergo a second chemical preparation (which I won’t be doing this week) to isolate oxygen from phosphate in the bone and scale mineral.






Sometimes, I’m a little slow on the uptake. I start thinking that if I’m involved in a research project, I can’t have my student employees work on it.

Yeah, I fixed that.

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