Curatorial Reference


The aim of these curatorial web pages is to provide an online illustrated resource for undergraduate and postgraduate core describers. These pages describe a wide range of features and components seen in marine sediments and sediment cores, principally concentrating on sedimentary components as seen in smear slides and megascopic features seen during the visual description of sediment cores.

The use of smear slides to analyse core lithologies often forms the primary investigative technique in the practical description of marine sediments; and to the geologist used to the conventional thickness of thin sections and trained on terrestrial sediments, even common components may seem unfamiliar when seen in smear slides. Marine sediments are also classified according to the different proportions of specific grain types that make up the sediment. Therefore, the ability to identify sedimentary grain types as seen in smear slides, and to realistically estimate their proportions are of crucial importance in describing marine sediments. It is hoped that the examples presented in these pages will provide a useful aid for sediment description.

These pages are meant to be a growing shared curatorial resource that will, over time, build up into an important image library; and we welcome submission of any photographs of type species, unusual mineral grains, primary or secondary megascopic features seen in cores, or just good quality representative sediment images. If you would like to submit photographs to this website, please email the pictures (as *.jpg files) with a description to Dr Guy Rothwell ( We also welcome your comments and suggestions for the website, which should also be sent to this email address.


All contributors and their institutions will be fully acknowledged and listed as contributor