Smear slides provide a rapid, simple and cheap technique for examining silt-size marine sediments. The very small sample size required (only 1–2 mm3) means that even archive cores can be sampled without damage. The technique needs little preparation and simple equipment. Their usefulness for rapidly describing cored sediment sequences has been demonstrated by their continual use during the 15 years of the Deep Sea Drilling Project. Today, smear slide analysis constitutes the primary investigative tool, albeit qualitative, in the initial analysis of cored sediments and is likely to remain so. Smear slides have wide application: besides sediment cores, they can be used to examine sediment attached to dredged rocks, lithified borehole samples and unconsolidated terrestrial sediments and soils. Smear slides are especially useful in determining small scale variability in a sediment.


Cover Slip Grain Size Analysis Simple Equipment Small Scale Variability Smear Slide 
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Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Rothwell
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Oceanographic SciencesGodalmingUK

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