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if you don't want to spend the money for a microscope or microscope camera here is a low budget device that will get acceptable micro pix. For $10. It will also work well on small megafossils. I got this at the mostly defunct Radio Shack, but I am sure it is still around. ( got it last X-mas) It slides on over your phone camera lens, and provides its own illumination. Just move it up or down to focus ( variable X) and take the photo. I have provided both edited and unedited pix to compare. (the only editing was to get them the same size). These specimens are from the U.Ordovician , Grant Lake Formation, Elk Creek , KY 2-3 mm in length. They are on standard 60 grid micro slides, about 3.5 mm on a side for each box.
Herb posted a topic in Micro-paleontologyPart 2 Fossil mounts cont. I cut the ID lables to fit the coin holder I am going to use and glue it in the box using a glue stick. Let the glue dry, and coat the numbered area of the lable with a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water. Do not put it on thick, a thin coating will do. When this dries the holders will be ready to use. The blank area at the top is for location information. E) Magnifiers: You can use a hand lens of 20x to view the prepared sample but this will get real tedious if you are doing much looking. There are several other relatively cheap options. USB stand alone cameras. These you plug into your computer and get a real time picture on the screen of what you are looking at with the use of the included software. These cost from $20 to $50 depending on which one you buy. I have included 2 that I have, they take decent pictures and aren't hard to use. They are basically small digital cameras. I have included some pix from them also. PIX: Another type of USB camera I use is used in conjunction with a binocular microscope. This obviously is not as cheap but still not too bad, about $220 for a 5.1 M camera. A 1.3M is about $100, and on up to higher resolutions. You can buy a serviceable binocular microscope for as little as $140. I found a nice new Russian made one for $250. F) Sorting tools: I purchase various sorting trays from dollar stores and use different ones depending on the color of the matrix I am looking through. Dark for light and light for dark. Any smooth very shallow sided container can be used. See pix. To sort out the micros in the trays I make my own disecting needles from dowel rods and sewing needles of various sizes. Make a hole in the end of the dowel rod and glue in a needle. When you find something you want to keep you can use a fine tip artists brush or make your own by cutting out most of the hairs from a small model brush. Leave only a couple hairs. Moisten the brush tip (I use spit ) and apply a little moisture to one of the boxes in your coin case. Use the disecting needle to isolate the fossil in the dish and touch the moist brush tip to the fossil, like magic it will stick, and transfer it carefully to the moistened spot on the case. The fossil will stick to the case. It can still be moved until the glue dries. If you need to remove it at a later date a little water on the brush applied to the fossil will break it lose. Lable the slide and have fun. There are lots of web sites out there to help with identification. The best one I know of for foraminifera is Foraminifera.eu. I hope this helps someone, feel free to contact I you have any questions. If I don't have the answer I'm sure someone else on th FF will .
This is just a guide to people who want to collect microfossils and don't want to spend a lot of money. This topic includes foraminifera,conodonts,ostracods,scolecodonts,and misc. mini fossils mainly too small to see without magnification. It will not be all encompassing, mostly for the beginners. A) Collecting; If you happen to live in an area that has a lot of shale/clay then you are in luck. The Ordovician and the Devonian both have lots of microfossils. Just gather up a bag of clay from between the rock layers. Soak the clay in a big bowl , crush it up with your hands, and slowly decant the clay (pour it off slowly), refill the bowl and repeat until the water turns clear. This may take numerous washings. What you have will have micros in it most likely. Dry the residue, if it is clean,it will not clump together if it sticks together too much, wash it some more. Then sieve the residue through at least 2 sieves one with door screen size openings and the other fine mesh (women's hose, or if you're Joe Namenth, your own hose ) Then look at the smaller material with at least 20x magnification and see what you find. The areas with sandy materials just usually have to be dried and sieved (Cenezoic, Cretaceous stuff) Cretaceous marls can be treated like clays for the most part. I don't usually deal with hard rocks, they require an acid to break down, too much work and mess for me. Materials: Sieves Fossil mounts Magnifiers Sorting tools C) Sieves can be as cheap or as expensive as you are willing to spend. The ones I will show you how to make will cost under$10. They are made from cardboard cylinders and needle point hoops and mesh. Most of which can be found in your local hobby store. The pix tell the story. I use door screen for the coarse sieve and hose/mosquito netting for the fine. You can buy a 4" plastic with brass mesh 5 piece sieve set from geologic/materials testing supply stores on line, about $40-50 a set. The advantage to these is you can wash the matrix directly through the sieves saving time. D) Fossil storage You can buy microfossil storage slides on the net from scientific supply houses for $4-7 each. The ones I use cost about a $1, and you can customize them to what you collect. I but plastic coin holders from hobby shops 2x3" and 11/2" square. I print my own lable inserts I printed using Excell to get the size needed. You may use my included for if you wish and it will print clear enough for you. If you figure out how to make money off this idea I want a cut. End of part 1