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Tex

What magnification range for microfossils?

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Tex

What do each of y’all recommend as a good range of magnification for general microfossil use? I know if it’s to little it won’t make the image big enough to see, and if it’s to much, you will be “zoomed in” to much, and only see just part of the fossil. I have a 500X digital microscope that USB plugs into the computer. I don’t have a particular type of microfossil I’m targeting. Just getting into it. But the smaller ones I can see, the better. 

 

So so what is y’alls recomendations?

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Herb

I use 20 to 60x variable . 500x is for like cellular biological work

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ynot

I Agree with Herb, but will add that what You want to look at makes a difference as to what magnification is best.

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Arizona Chris

I use mine at 3.5x for scanning hand sized fossils as well for fine details.  Anything over 50 x is pretty insane!  

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Tex

Thank y’all. I’m also interested in the really micro micro’s like radiolarians, ostracods, etc. What power for those? 20X? 60X? Or what?

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Bullsnake

 

3 hours ago, Tex said:

Thank y’all. I’m also interested in the really micro micro’s like radiolarians, ostracods, etc. What power for those? 20X? 60X? Or what?

 

Upper Pennsylvanian ostracods at 20X.  Field of view ~1cm

 

IMG_0084.thumb.JPG.fee13a6cae69e9ac67243e8ebbcf0d15.JPG

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Tex

Cool. What about radiolarians? Are they the same size or smaller? Have any pics of them, and what magnification?

 

Thank you. 

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Bullsnake

Have to admit I know nothing about those.

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DPS Ammonite

A search for radiolarian photos reveals that most are magnified X400 to X1,500 times. A x500 microscope might work if photo can be digitally enlarged too.

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Tex

Alright. Thank y'all.

 

I'm going to try to attach pics of a sample. If it works, please let me know if you see anything microfossil wise in them. It's with my 500X, but the measurement software isn't on here, so I have to find the disk again. I don't see anything, but I don't know what all I'm looking for either. Thanks.

 

 

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Brittle Star

I use between x20 - x40 on my long arm microscope gives lots of room to work with and pick things up. using a smaller microscope this may prove difficult it all depends on what you want to do, a shorter working length is fine to just take photos, picking things from matrix needs more room. I can see ostrocods and forams really well, radiolarians I think would need a higher mag, I have never worked with them much. I only use my usb microscope to take photos of things I have already sorted from matrix.

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Tex

so what is your long arm microscope? what kind, brand, model, whatever?

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Brittle Star

Hi, I got it from Brunel I do not have a model, it is just the cheapest Long arm microscope I could get, it is really useful for prepping bigger fossils as it is adjustable. Do an online search and you will see different models.

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Tex

Alright. I’ll look into it. Thank you. 

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Mike from North Queensland

I think you may have several specimens in the photos provided.

I have circled the bits I would have extracted for a better look.

To make the searching easier use sieves to get the material of equal size - ensures a smaller specimen is not obstructed behind a larger object.

Ensure the material is dry - prevent sticking.

Spread the material out - makes extracting the specimens easier.

Background is helpful - a contrasting colour can help.

 

Mike

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Johan

As a micropaleontologist/palynologist, my answer would be, like several people wrote before me: your required/desired magnification really depends on which fossil group/what kind of material you would want to be studying.  

 

A lot of people work with the smaller magnifications (20x, 50x, 100x), as this is easiest. Studying material under 50x already gives you a wonderful insight. Fossils like ostrocods, larger benthic foraminifera, bryozoa, small molluscs, conodonts, sponge spicules, echinoid spines&tubercles, plant seeds ,etc are usually easily recognized. However, when you would want to study fossil groups like (benthic&planktic) foraminifera, diatoms, radiolarians, copepods, pollen grains etc, you really needs something with a larger magnification (500x, 1000x).

 

You write that you have a 500x digital microscope. That should be enough for most of the commonly studied microfossils . Only when you would want to study things like pollen grains, dinoflagellate cysts and nannoplankton fossils, you would need something better. 

 

I would say, for someone who is just starting to explore the world of microfossils: start with material that is very rich in fossils.. You'll find out that material that is rich in fossils, usually is even more rich in microfossils! Enjoy!

Edited by Johan

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Tex

Thank y’all both. Sadly, they don’t let us bring soil home, and I didn’t catch the reply’s before I left a few weeks ago (got pretty busy at the end there). If I go back I’ll go better prepared with gear to extract with. Maybe by then I’ll have a better hang of it. 

 

I’d like to learn to collect the tiniest microfossils out there. After the holidays, I may look into more usb microscopes of different magnification. Less magnification as well as a 1000X, eventually. 

 

Thank y’all again. 

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Herb

20x to 60x optical lenses will be fine for almost all common micros. Your 500x pictures look like 40-50x in reality

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