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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Seafloor Samples Laboratory

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The WHOI Seafloor Samples Laboratory receives funding from the US National Science Foundation and is located in the McLean Laboratory on WHOI's Quissett Campus. The archive facility was established more than thirty years ago by members of the Geology and Geophysics department led by Dr. Dave A. Johnson, but contains material from the earliest days of WHOI's seagoing sampling programs. The extent of the collection is global and the 100's of tons of material currently archived have allowed scientists from diverse disciplines to undertake research on topics as varied as continental drift, climate change, mass extinctions, and the processes that lead to the evolution of chemosynthetic communities.


Samples are housed in a 4,700 square foot repository that includes 650 square feet of walk-in refrigerated space. Most of the cores are split longitudinally and stored at room temperature "moist" on special racks in sealed "D-tubes". Those sample that require special preservation are kept at 4 degrees Centrigrade in the walk-in cooler. Rocks, Alvin material and grabs are shelved in the same area.
Facilities also include core splitting systems, rock preparation equipment, microscopes, a GEOTEK core logger, and subsampling accessories. Please see the WHOI web site for more details.

Sample Collection

As of September, 2004 4,022 cores totalling 18,300 meters in length, 1,637 dredges, samples from 387 Alvin dives and 1760 Alvin stations, 5,550 continental margin grab samples, and 1,420 samples from ROV's and miscellaneous devices are archived at WHOI for a total of 15,000 archived samples.
Samples archived were collected on more than 425 separate oceanographic expeditions utilizing a wide variety of sampling hardware. While the vast majority of the collection is from the deep ocean, cores from lakes in Africa and North and South America are also archived.

Go to the WHOI Seafloor Samples Laboratory Web Page

Go to the Index to Marine & Lacustrine Geological Samples | Go to List of Participating Institutions