• The air-abrasive technique: A re-evaluation of its use in fossil preparation

      Graham, M; Allington-Jones, L (Coquina Press, 2018-08-02)
      This paper outlines the history of air-abrasion (also known as airbrasion) as a paleontological preparation technique and evaluates various powders and their properties. It explores the rationale behind the selection of abrasive powders and presents, for the first time, trench-scatter experiments through Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) photography and three-dimensional (3-D) profiling. This article also offers general practical advice and details the results of an international survey of practising fossil preparators.
    • The air-abrasive technique: a re-evaluation of its use in fossil preparation.

      Graham, M; Allington-Jones, L (Coquina Press, 2018-08)
      This paper outlines the history of air-abrasion (also known as airbrasion) as a palaeontological preparation technique and evaluates various powders and their properties. It explores the rationale behind the selection of abrasive powders and presents, for the first time, trench-scatter experiments through Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) photography and three-dimensional (3-D) profiling. This article also offers general practical advice and details the results of an international survey of practising fossil preparators
    • The Airless Project

      Allington-Jones, L; Trafford, A (Natural Sciences Collections Association, 2017-04-20)
      A project to combat pyrite oxidation at the NHM (London, UK) is currently in its second year. The project aims to undertake conservation treatments and store highest risk specimens in low oxygen microenvironments. An emergent benefit of the conservation-driven project has been the digitisation of specimens on the collection management system KE Emu, through the use of barcodes and web-based applications.
    • Alkali-rich replacement zones in evolved NYF pegmatites: metasomatic fluids or immiscible melts?

      Muller, A; Spratt, J; Thomas, R; Williamson, BJ; Seltmann, Reimar (International Mineralogical Association, 2018-08-13)
      IMA2018 Abstract submission Pegmatite mineralogy, geochemistry, classification and origins IMA2018-1337 Alkali-rich replacement zones in evolved NYF pegmatites: metasomatic fluids or immiscible melts? Axel Muller* 1, John Spratt2, Rainer Thomas3, Ben J. Williamson4, Reimar Seltmann2 1Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, 2Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom, 3Chemistry and Physics of Earth Materials, German Research Centre for Geoscience GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, 4Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Penryn, United Kingdom What is your preferred presentation method?: Oral or poster presentation : Replacement zones (RZ), which are a common feature of evolved granitic pegmatites, are irregular, commonly alkali-rich zones superimposing, cross-cutting and replacing the primary zonation in almost all consolidated pegmatite bodies. RZ are widely considered to result from late-stage metasomatism even though little is known about the melts and/or fluids involved in their formation. However, the observed textures and mineral paragenesis of RZ cannot be explained by metasomatism in a strict sense. In this study, the nature of the late stage silicate melt forming “cleavelandite” RZ is assessed from textural, mineralogical, chemical and melt inclusion studies of evolved, Proterozoic Niobium-Yttrium-Fluorine (NYF) rare metal pegmatites from Evje–Iveland, southern Norway. These were studied as they are mineralogically simple, compared with RZ in evolved Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum (LCT) pegmatites. Silicate melt inclusions in RZ-forming topaz and “cleavelandite” document high H2O contents of up to18 wt.% of the F-rich silicate melt from which the RZ crystallized. In addition, from mineral compositions (“cleavelandite”, “amazonite”, white mica, garnet, columbite group minerals, topaz, fluorite, and beryl), they must have also been strongly alkaline (Na-dominated) with enrichments in F (at least 4 wt.%), Cs, Rb, Ta, Nb, Mn, Ge, Bi, As, and in some cases also Li compared with host pegmatites. These elements are concentrated in a few RZ-forming minerals resulting in very distinctive mineral-trace element signatures. “Amazonite” is strongly enriched in Cs and Rb and often white mica and beryl in Li and Cs. To acquire these mineral compositions, the overall Li-Cs-Ta-poor Evje-Iveland original pegmatite melt must have undergone extreme internal chemical differentiation resulting in melt/melt immiscibility aiding rheology contrasts and resulting in RZ formation. The resulting RZ-forming H2O-F-rich silicate melt would have shown large differences in viscosity and density, and therefore physical flow/transport properties, to the host pegmatite melt resulting in discordant contacts. The mineralogy and melt inclusion data from the Evje-Iveland pegmatites document a gradient of crystallization temperatures within the investigated pegmatite bodies with highest temperatures at the pegmatite margin (during initial emplacement, ~680°C) and lowest temperatures within the RZ (<500°C). Considering the temperature and pressure conditions of the host rocks gneisses and amphibolites (~650°C, up to 5 kbar) at the time of pegmatite emplacement and the crystallization conditions of the RZ, the Evje- Iveland pegmatites and RZ likely formed over a period of 2.2 million years, assuming an exhumation rate of 1.5 mm per million years and a geothermal gradient of 45°C km-1. Such a long crystallization time contradicts the classical view that pegmatites represent strongly undercooled melts which crystallize relatively fast.
    • Assessing myxozoan presence and diversity using environmental DNA

      Hartikainen, H; Bass, D; Briscoe, AG; Knipe, H; Green, AJ; Okamura, B (2016-11)
    • Blue Whale on the Move: Dismantling a 125 Year-Old Specimen

      Bernucci, A; Cornish, L; Lynn, C (museum fur naturkunde berlinBerlin, Germany, 2016)
      The Natural History Museum (London, UK) intends to suspend a 25 metre-long, blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) from its central Hintze Hall. Alongside other specimens which are to be put on open display in this space the environment was looked at in terms of sustainable improvements. Works are being undertaken to improve the conditions by utilizing natural ventilation and re-using existing duct work. This specimen, acquired by the Museum in 1891, was suspended from the ceiling of the Mammal Hall, where it has been on display since 1934. Conservators worked with a specialist specimen handling company to carefully dismantle and remove each of the 220 bones from its original mount. The skull required a special frame and a precise calculation of movement to dismantle it and remove it. Many complex decisions were made during this process – as each bone removal did not dictate what the next would bring. During the dismantling phase, the conservation team have had to address the many requirements of curators, researchers, senior management and the media.
    • Characterisation of nanoparticles by means of high-resolution SEM/EDS in transmission mode

      Hodoroaba, V-D; Rades, S; Salge, T; Mielke, J; Ortel, E; Schmidt, R (2016-02-09)
    • The Clacton Spear: the last one hundred years

      Allington-Jones, L (Royal Archaeological Institute, 2015)
      In 1911 an eminent amateur prehistorian pulled the broken end of a pointed wooden shaft from Palaeolithic-age sediments at a seaside town in Essex. This artefact, still the earliest worked wood to be discovered in the world, became known as the Clacton Spear. Over the past 100 years it has variously been interpreted as a projectile weapon, a stave, a digging stick, a snow probe, a lance, a game stake and a prod to ward off rival scavengers. These perspectives have followed academic fashions, as the popular views of early hominins have altered. Since discovery the Clacton spear has also been replicated twice, has undergone physical transformations due to preservation treatments, and has featured in two public exhibitions. Within this article the changing context of the spear, its parallels, and all previous conservation treatments and their impacts are assessed.
    • Classification and characterisation of magmatic-hydrothermal tourmaline by combining field observations and microanalytical techniques

      Drivenes, K; Brownscombe, W; Larsen, RB; Seltmann, Reimar; Spratt, J; Sørensen, BE (IOP Publishing, 2020)
      Tourmaline from the St. Byron lobe of the Land’s End granite, SW England, was assessed by macroscopic, optical and quantitative microanalytical methods. In total, seven types of tourmaline were distinguished. The seven types reflect different crystallisation environments and stages in the magmatic-hydrothermal transition. Types 1-3 are interpreted to represent a gradual transition from tourmaline crystallising from a silicate melt to precipitation from magmatic aqueous fluids. Types 5-7 crystallised at subsolidus conditions from a different fluid generation than types 1-3. These fluids may be magmatic or mixed with other fluids (e.g., meteoric or formation waters). The Sn-mineralisation in the area is mostly related to the latter fluid generation, and the mineralising potential is reflected by the tourmaline composition.
    • Cleaning Minerals: practical and ethical considerations

      Allington-Jones, L (Geological Curators' Group, 2017-11-01)
      Mineral specimens have a dual nature, both as a scientific resource and an aesthetic pleasure. Combine this with a long history of sampling for study, and the developed nature of most specimens on the commercial market, and it is difficult to relate to the ethical principles of conservation when cleaning minerals.
    • Confocal laser scanning microscopy as a valuable tool in Diptera larval morphology studies

      Grzywacz, A; Góral, T; Szpila, K; Hall, MJR (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2014-09-19)
      Larval morphology of flies is traditionally studied using light microscopy, yet in the case of fine structures compound light microscopy is limited due to problems of resolution, illumination and depth of field, not allowing for precise recognition of sclerites’ edges and interactions. Using larval instars of cyclorrhaphan Diptera, we show the usefulness of confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) for studying the morphological characters of immature stages by taking advantage of the autofluorescent properties of cephaloskeleton structures. We compare data obtained from killed but unprepared larvae with those from larvae prepared by clearing according to two commonly used methods, either with potassium hydroxide or with Hoyer’s medium. We also evaluated the CLSM application for examining already slide-mounted larvae stored in museum collections and those freshly prepared. Our results indicate that CLSM and 3D reconstruction are excellent for visualizing small, compound structures of cylrorrhaphan larvae cephaloskeleton, if appropriate clearing techniques, i.e. the application of KOH, are used. Maximum intensity projection of confocal data sets obtained from material freshly prepared and that stored in museum collection does not differ. Because of this and the fact that KOH is commonly used as a clearing method to examine the cephaloskeleton of Diptera larvae, it is possible, and highly recommended, to use slides already prepared with this method for re-examination by CLSM. We conclude that CLSM application can be an invaluable source of data for studies of larval morphology of Cyclorrhapha by way of taxonomic diagnoses, character identification and improvement in characters homologization.
    • Conservation in a Barcode Age: A cross-discipline re-storage project for pyritic specimens

      Allington-Jones, L; Trafford, A (International Council of Museums, 2017-01-01)
      The dichotomy of conservation and access has long been recognised within the museum profession. The recent push for digitisation has added a new dimension to this argument: digital records can both increase potential access, due to increased awareness of the existence of objects, and decrease potential handling, since a more thorough awareness of an object creates a more informed decision regarding whether access is actually necessary. The use of barcodes and the creation of digital resources have therefore been incorporated into a re-storage project at the Natural History Museum, London to reduce duplication of work (and handling) by staff and to combat the reduction in access caused by the enclosure of objects within microenvironments, which in turn helps preserve specimens for future access. This project demonstrates how conservation and digitisation can successfully synthesise through the use of barcodes, when working with a cross-discipline team.
    • Conservation of James Sowerby’s Fungi Models

      Bernucci, A; Allington-Jones, L (2015)
    • Crookesite, Cu7TlSe4, from Littleham Cove, Devon: the first mineral containing essential thallium from the British Isles

      Rumsey, MS; Dossett, I; Green, DI; Najorka, J; Spratt, J; Rumsey, MS (The Russell Society, 2015-10-01)
      The rare thallium copper selenide crookesite occurs as dark grey metallic needles in at least two cavities in a nodule collected from cliffs at Littleham Cove, Budleigh Salterton, Devon. This is the first report of a thallium mineral from the British Isles. The small crystal size, confusion in the mineralogical literature and the need to preserve as much of the specimen as possible for future study, made the identification particularly challenging. Thallium minerals have a very limited worldwide distribution. They are almost entirely restricted to unusual low temperature epithermal deposits. The discovery of crookesite in nodules in a Permian red bed environment is, therefore of significant interest. Thallium minerals do not appear to have been reported in this geological setting before.
    • The crystal chemistry of elsmoreite from the Hemerdon (Drakelands) mine, UK: hydrokenoelsmoreite-3C and hydrokenoelsmoreite-6R

      Mills, SJ; Christy, AG; Rumsey, MS; Spratt, J (Cambridge University Press, 2016-12-01)
      A crystallographic and chemical study of two 'elsmoreite' samples (previously described as 'ferritungstite') from the Hemerdon mine (now known as the Drakelands mine), Devon, United Kingdom has shown them to be two different polytypes of hydrokenoelsmoreite. Hydrokenoelsmoreite-3C(HKE-3C) crystallizes in space group , with the unit-cell parameter a = 10.3065(3) Å. Hydrokenoelsmoreite-6R (HKE-6R) crystallizes in space group , with the unit-cell parameters a = 7.2882(2) Å and c = 35.7056(14)Å. Chemical analyses showed that both polytypes have Na and Fe/Al substitution giving the formulae: (Na0.28Ca0.04K0.02(H2O)0.20⁏1.46)∑2.00(W1.47Fe3+ 0.32Al0.21As5+ 0.01)∑2.00[O4.79(OH)1.21]∑6.00·(H2O)(3C) and (Na0.24Ca0.04K0.03(H2O)0.63⁏1.06)∑2.00(W1.42Fe3+ 0.49Al0.08As5+ 0.01)∑2.00[O4.65(OH)1.35]∑6.00·(H2O)(6R). The doubling of the unit cell in the 6R phase is due to ordering of Na and ( ,H2O) in the A site; no long-range ordering is observed between W and Fe/Al in the B site.
    • Crystal structure and investigation of Bi2TeO6·nH2O (0 ≤ n ≤ 2/3): natural and synthetic montanite

      Missen, Owen P; Mills, Stuart J; Rumsey, Michael S; Weil, Matthias; Artner, Werner; Spratt, J; Najorka, J (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-06-09)
      The crystal structure of montanite has been determined using single-crystal X-ray diffraction on a synthetic sample, supported by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), electron microprobe analysis (EPMA) and thermogravimetric analyses (TGA). Montanite was first described in 1868 as Bi2TeO6·nH2O (0 ≤ n ≤ 2/3). The determination of the crystal structure of synthetic montanite (refined composition Bi2TeO6·0.22H2O has led to the reassignment of the formula to Bi2TeO6·0.22H2O where 0 ≤ n ≤ 2∕3 rather than the commonly reported Bi2TeO6·2H2O. This change has been accepted by the IMA–CNMNC, Proposal 22-A. The PXRD pattern simulated from the crystal structure of synthetic montanite is a satisfactory match for PXRD scans collected on both historical and recent natural samples, showing their equivalence. Two specimens attributed to the original discoverer of montanite (Frederick A. Genth) from the cotype localities (Highland Mining District, Montana and David Beck’s mine, North Carolina, USA) have been designated as neotypes. Montanite crystallises in space group P6, with the unit-cell parameters a = 9.1195(14) Å, c = 5.5694(8) Å, V = 401.13(14) Å3, and three formula units in the unit cell. The crystal structure of montanite is formed from a framework of BiOn and TeO6 polyhedra. Half of the Bi3+ and all of the Te+ cations are coordinated by six oxygen atoms in trigonal-prismatic arrangements (the first example of this configuration reported for Te6+, while the remaining Bi3+ cations are coordinated by seven O sites. The H2O groups in montanite are structurally incorporated into the network of cavities formed by the three-dimensional framework, with other cavity space occupied by the stereoactive 6s2 lone pair of Bi3+ cations. While evidence for a supercell was observed in synthetic montanite, the subcell refinement of montanite adequately indexes all reflections in the PXRD patterns observed in all natural montanite samples analysed in this study, verifying the identity of montanite as a mineral.