The samples may look small, each bottle only holds ~ 1/4 of a liter (250 mL), but these are the samples we worked the hardest to collect. I’m interested in how the pore water composition changes over the top 12 centimeters (about 5.5 inches). Since pore water is the water between sediment grains, after we collect the cores, we have to get the pore water away from the sediment. This involves slicing the core into centrifuge tubes (without exposing the core to oxygen) and then pulling and filtering the pore fluid from the centrifuge tube. All this work, and we get maybe 10 mL per tube. This brings us back to the 250 mL samples you see here, at least 25 cores went into each one.
Why do we need so much? My research is focused on neodymium, a rare earth element, and as its name implies it is rare in seawater and pore waters. I need at least 10ng (that 10×10^-9 grams or 0.000000001 g) of neodymium to make a measurement and it takes at least 1/4 of a liter to get that amount! More pictures to come!