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The Jersey Devil

New Jersey Cretaceous Pyritized Lignite Prep

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The Jersey Devil

Hi everyone,

I would like to hear any recommendations for prepping pyritized lignite. I am about to try the PEG technique that @LoneRanger described in this topic: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/19304-preserving-lignite-fossils-with-polyethylene-glycol/

 

This should stabilize the lignite. However, I don’t know if the pyrite will also stabilize. I don’t want it to develop pyrite disease. Would the PEG coating be enough to protect it from air humidity?

 

 

Thanks a lot!

 

Here is a sample of some of the material I am prepping:
 

 

 

 

 

 

61535E4D-9DB0-4411-AC7F-1F6B0E4B16A1.jpeg

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FranzBernhard

Very nice!

Pyrite disease on this stuff can be really nasty. My suggestion is to try various approaches with small, lesser specimens or fragments.

Meanwhile, store all your better specimens in a bucket completely submerged in water, cool and in the dark. Hopefully, they have not dried out yet!

Franz Bernhard

 

PS: Here is a very bad example:
A piece of pyritiferrous coal, the slab was 12 mm thick, the box is 20 mm high...

Zerfall.jpg

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The Jersey Devil
7 hours ago, FranzBernhard said:

Very nice!

Pyrite disease on this stuff can be really nasty. My suggestion is to try various approaches with small, lesser specimens or fragments.

Meanwhile, store all your better specimens in a bucket completely submerged in water, cool and in the dark. Hopefully, they have not dried out yet!

Franz Bernhard

 

PS: Here is a very bad example:
A piece of pyritiferrous coal, the slab was 12 mm thick, the box is 20 mm high...

Zerfall.jpg


Thanks. Yeah I have all of them submerged in water. There is some type of reaction going on with the water though. Some form of iron is coming out of the pieces. It almost doesn’t seem like the pieces themselves are being affected, but pyrite on them is reacting.

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The Jersey Devil

@Ptychodus04 Do you possibly have any recommendations for these? Would Paraloid also work? 

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Ptychodus04

If it is stable enough to soak in water, get some Iron Out from your local hardware store and add about a cup of granules to a gallon of warm water. Soak the pieces overnight. The pyrite will probably be black when you take it out of the water. Scrub it off with a toothbrush and dish soap. After this, the pyrite will be bright and shiny.

 

Let it dry for a couple days. Then finish it in the oven and soak with Paraloid as described in your other thread. This will stabilize the lignite as well as seal the pyrite so moisture can’t get to it.

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The Jersey Devil
3 hours ago, Ptychodus04 said:

If it is stable enough to soak in water, get some Iron Out from your local hardware store and add about a cup of granules to a gallon of warm water. Soak the pieces overnight. The pyrite will probably be black when you take it out of the water. Scrub it off with a toothbrush and dish soap. After this, the pyrite will be bright and shiny.

 

Let it dry for a couple days. Then finish it in the oven and soak with Paraloid as described in your other thread. This will stabilize the lignite as well as seal the pyrite so moisture can’t get to it.


Thanks again.

I haven’t understood the chemical reaction that Iron Out performs yet, but it should dissolve the iron but leave the pyrite right?


 

The lignite has been in water ever since being found and emitted the iron in solution.

I also have a question about drying the lignite out. Won’t it crack especially after heating in the oven?

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Ptychodus04

Iron Out essentially removes the oxidized iron. For heavily pyritized specimens such as this, I always treat with Iron Out to reduce the occurrence of pyrite decay. I have specimens treated this way that have been closed up in cases for over a decade without experiencing any pyrite decay.

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The Jersey Devil
3 minutes ago, Ptychodus04 said:

Iron Out essentially removes the oxidized iron. For heavily pyritized specimens such as this, I always treat with Iron Out to reduce the occurrence of pyrite decay. I have specimens treated this way that have been closed up in cases for over a decade without experiencing any pyrite decay.


I will have to try it.

So the Iron Out doesn’t allow the lignite to crack when baking it?

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Ptychodus04
Just now, The Jersey Devil said:

 

So the Iron Out doesn’t allow the lignite to crack when baking it?

No, it helps prevent pyrite disease. You may want to test bake a specimen. I don't know if the baking process will crack the lignite. You want to make sure there's absolutely no water in the speciment before you soak it in the Paraloid.

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FranzBernhard
17 hours ago, The Jersey Devil said:

Some form of iron is coming out of the pieces.

What does this mean, how does it look like?

One possibility is, that there has already been a little bit of pyrite disease and the already existing iron sulfates have dissolved in the water and the iron is now oxidizing on the surface of the water.

For sure, the water is also not totally oxygen-free and some pyrite decomposition might still go on. Some kind of bacterizid may help, but use of such chemicals is far beyond my experience.

Franz Bernhard

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The Jersey Devil
On 4/14/2020 at 12:08 AM, FranzBernhard said:

What does this mean, how does it look like?

One possibility is, that there has already been a little bit of pyrite disease and the already existing iron sulfates have dissolved in the water and the iron is now oxidizing on the surface of the water.

For sure, the water is also not totally oxygen-free and some pyrite decomposition might still go on. Some kind of bacterizid may help, but use of such chemicals is far beyond my experience.

Franz Bernhard


Yeah the process takes time so I was also thinking water oxygen might slowly cause the iron or pyrite to react.
 

It looked pretty weird, like platelets of orangish stuff on the surface of the water. 

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FranzBernhard
3 hours ago, The Jersey Devil said:

It looked pretty weird, like platelets of orangish stuff on the surface of the water. 

That´s typical for oxidation of iron ions that are already in solution, forming very thin "limonite" films on the surface of the water.

What we still don´t know is, if there was already some iron sulfate in your specimens that got in solution immediately. Or if the pyrite is oxidizing slowly, although it is unter water.

Maybe you may just fill your bucked nearly to the brim with water and cover it with some sort of plastic foil.

Franz Bernhard

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TOM BUCKLEY

I have quite a bit of this stuff myself. It came from, I imagine, the same place as yours. Sayreville, New Jersey. I painted a few coats of very diluted Elmer's glue all on the carbonized wood, some of which had pyrite on it. This worked very well at holding off the pyrite disease as well as keeping the wood from crumbling.
I've also found this technique to be very effective on high water content shale and would coat an entire slab and it really preserved the hash and kept the shale from crumbling.

Tom

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The Jersey Devil
38 minutes ago, TOM BUCKLEY said:

I have quite a bit of this stuff myself. It came from, I imagine, the same place as yours. Sayreville, New Jersey. I painted a few coats of very diluted Elmer's glue all on the carbonized wood, some of which had pyrite on it. This worked very well at holding off the pyrite disease as well as keeping the wood from crumbling.
I've also found this technique to be very effective on high water content shale and would coat an entire slab and it really preserved the hash and kept the shale from crumbling.

Tom


These aren’t from Sayreville. I use elmers pretty often on specimens that don’t have pyrite or aren’t lignite, and it works great. But I think I read that the moisture goes through the elmers coating, which is probably not good for pyrite and lignite. I might try it on 1 piece though as a test. Maybe it also depends on the type of preservation of the lignite.

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TOM BUCKLEY
38 minutes ago, The Jersey Devil said:


These aren’t from Sayreville. I use elmers pretty often on specimens that don’t have pyrite or aren’t lignite, and it works great. But I think I read that the moisture goes through the elmers coating, which is probably not good for pyrite and lignite. I might try it on 1 piece though as a test. Maybe it also depends on the type of preservation of the lignite.

 

I never tried to preserve the actual lignite, just the carbonized wood. Don't forget to dilute it way down. This helps it penetrate and strengthen. Good luck.

 

Tom

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Darbi

I wonder if the clear shellac coating will stop the pyrite rot. I used it on some of my fossils. 

 

I soaked them in water for few hours, brushed them with toothbrush, rinsed them and dried them with a towel, and then baked it at 88 degree C. for at least an hour to remove the remaining moisture. I sprayed 2 coats of clear  shellac the next day. I hope that will work!

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The Jersey Devil
12 hours ago, TOM BUCKLEY said:

 

I never tried to preserve the actual lignite, just the carbonized wood. Don't forget to dilute it way down. This helps it penetrate and strengthen. Good luck.

 

Tom

 

10 hours ago, Darbi said:

I wonder if the clear shellac coating will stop the pyrite rot. I used it on some of my fossils. 

 

I soaked them in water for few hours, brushed them with toothbrush, rinsed them and dried them with a towel, and then baked it at 88 degree C. for at least an hour to remove the remaining moisture. I sprayed 2 coats of clear  shellac the next day. I hope that will work!


I’ll probably be trying a bunch of things to see what works best.

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FranzBernhard

Just out of pure curiosity:

13 hours ago, The Jersey Devil said:

lignite

 

12 hours ago, TOM BUCKLEY said:

carbonized wood

Your specimens are from different sites, of course. But what is the real difference?

 

Here is my oppinion, based on general info:

Lignite is low-rank coal, usually brown, with very high moisture content. There can be large chunks of recognizeable wood in this coal, thats xylite (xylite = a variety of lignite).

Carbonized wood is essentially charcoal. Its wood transformed to rather pure carbon by great heat (fire). Such charcoal can also occur as a fossil within lignite, its called fusain.

Franz Bernhard

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