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CrocodileJen

What To Use? Apple Cider Vinegar Vs White Vinegar Vs H20 Vs H2O2 Vs Baking Soda?

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CrocodileJen

I am sorry if this is a redundant post, but the information I need seems to be spread throughout so many different places, and with so many differing opinions, that I am confused. I was hoping to find a discussion of pros & cons of one fossil cleaning method over another all in one place. Or even maybe a cool chart..."If you have ____ soak it for ____ days in ____ and then ____. DO NOT____ "

Which is better, Vinegar, H2O2, or Baking Soda? Or does it depend on the material on the fossil as well as the fossil itself? Does Apple Cider Vinegar vs White Vinegar really matter?

When is just water and mild dish soap okay?

How long do I need to soak bones in fresh water? Teeth?

Just went on a group hunt this weekend along the Potomac and have some cool Miocene specimens. I usually like to hunt alone but this gave us access to restricted areas. I even met two forum members! Have some shark teeth to clean (thinking just mild dish soap and water here), and some big whale verts and bones (thinking those need a soak in something to neutralize acid). And do you treat an epiphysis as you would a bone or vert? What about dolphin ear bones?

Also have some huge Chesapectens with the matrix still attached. Our guide found a fall full of them. So I let the matrix dry out first before cleaning so the shell doesn't crumble, right? How long does that take? And then how do you clean shells?

What about trace fossils? I have a fragile little burrow.

Also have turritella impressions and internal molds, wouldn't want those to crumble.

Sorry for so many questions, especially if the answers were out there and I just couldn't find them. Happy to be given links to helpful posts here or websites. This is only my second year of intentional hunting and I have so much to learn. Thank you!

Edited by CrocodileJen

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squalicorax

Ill try to answer a few of your questions

First in foremost you want to determine what the composition of the matrix is and your fossils.

If you found these items in salt water, i would soak them in fresh water for a few days, changing the water twice a day. You want all the salt out

Water and dish soap are appropriate for all types of fossils. Hot water alone does wonders on matrix over time.

for the Pectins, it seems like these are usually pretty fragile so i would try H2O2 from the drug store on one of the specimens to see how it reacts. I wouldn't put the pectins near any acids as they are aragonite and they will dissolve. depending on how soft the shells are i would glue cracks with super glue. Are they single Valved or do they have both valves?

Edited by squalicorax

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Doctor Mud

Hi there,

I posted a step by step guide on how to use acid to prep fossils in hard matrix on a post "prepping bones in hard siltstone"

I agree with aqualicorax - always start with the gentlest option and test ideally with a specimen you aren't so fond of.

Every site is different and depends on the matrix and if it is cemented (held together with calcite or silica) or not.

What type of rock are the fossils in?

I would always prefer a mechanical prep to a "wet prep" unless you think soaking it in water etc. is the best option. Getting some fossils wet makes them really fragile and they can just crumble.

If the matrix isn't cemented you can try a brush or needle (or both) to remove matrix. This works well for non cemented sandstones, greensands, and mudstones.

Water will work well but be careful with thin shelled fossils. You may be o.k. with your earbones and some whale bones since they are more robust.

If your matrix is a mudstone, a little bit of detergent in the water will help do dissaggregate the clays.

I hope this helps. I would love to see some photos of your fossils - particularly the ear-bones!

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Evgeny Kotelevsky

To prep out my sponges I use 9% vinegar. Skeletons are phosphatic, so vinegar doesn't damages them. But if sponge skeleton is not phosphatic, I use hot water and prep them out with needles and small hammer.

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CrocodileJen

Thanks folks.

Ill try to answer a few of your questions

First in foremost you want to determine what the composition of the matrix is and your fossils.

If you found these items in salt water, i would soak them in fresh water for a few days, changing the water twice a day. You want all the salt out

Water and dish soap are appropriate for all types of fossils. Hot water alone does wonders on matrix over time.

for the Pectins, it seems like these are usually pretty fragile so i would try H2O2 from the drug store on one of the specimens to see how it reacts. I wouldn't put the pectins near any acids as they are aragonite and they will dissolve. depending on how soft the shells are i would glue cracks with super glue. Are they single Valved or do they have both valves?

squalicorax, thanks. matrix is soft clay. There were some bi-valve but I wasn't able to get any. Water was brackish, in the the Potomac which leads to Chesapeake Bay which leads to Atlantic. Pics attached in this post

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/38056-miocene-weekend/

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CrocodileJen

Hi there,

I posted a step by step guide on how to use acid to prep fossils in hard matrix on a post "prepping bones in hard siltstone"

I agree with aqualicorax - always start with the gentlest option and test ideally with a specimen you aren't so fond of.

Every site is different and depends on the matrix and if it is cemented (held together with calcite or silica) or not.

What type of rock are the fossils in?

I would always prefer a mechanical prep to a "wet prep" unless you think soaking it in water etc. is the best option. Getting some fossils wet makes them really fragile and they can just crumble.

If the matrix isn't cemented you can try a brush or needle (or both) to remove matrix. This works well for non cemented sandstones, greensands, and mudstones.

Water will work well but be careful with thin shelled fossils. You may be o.k. with your earbones and some whale bones since they are more robust.

If your matrix is a mudstone, a little bit of detergent in the water will help do dissaggregate the clays.

I hope this helps. I would love to see some photos of your fossils - particularly the ear-bones!

Thanks Doctor Mud! Pics from last weekend are here

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/38056-miocene-weekend/

The matrix is not rock (yet), soft clay.

Are here is the dolphin ear bone... I think? It is shinier and smoother than concretions I have found, but the color, as well as the patterns inside, now make me wonder if it really is an ear bone. Sorry about the poor detail

post-9240-0-23845200-1370621528_thumb.jpg

post-9240-0-54612200-1370621534_thumb.jpg

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BobWill

I tried to find the post by Dr Mud and the only results I got for "prepping bones" was this thread. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

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