Extraction of organic fossils from rocks is done using hydrochloric acid or acetic acid. Cellulose nitrate is applied on fossiliferous rocks that allow rocks to be dissolved.
This technique involves recovering carbonaceous fossils under a transmission light microscope. After removing the matrix, the rock is placed upside down in an acid that is weak and stirred continually to remove the debris. Then nitrocellulose is painted on the fossil surface and peeled off. Advancement in technique allows wetting of the surface by cellulose nitrate or cellulose acetate providing better contact with the material.
The method involves applying acetate onto the slide and then epoxy resin is pressed to attach to the specimen after acetate dissolves. A glass slide is now greased and pressed on the smooth peel to the before slide for 45 minutes. Then the glass slide is removed and the preparation is washed in acetone to avoid artifacts.
This technique is used to preserve the position of the fossil by partially embedding it in plastic resins. It is a safe method compared to mechanical methods in preserving the surface of the fossil. The fossil is blow-dried after which water-soluble lacquer is applied and allowed to set. Now a frame of modeling clay is built around to which epoxy is poured. This is allowed to dry and the frame is removed. Now the epoxy is removed layer by layer till it reached the fossil and lacquer is poured to form a fragile fossil. Finally, oil shale traces are removed.
Collection of Fossil:
Some fossils are found in a very clear state, which does not need any further cleaning while some need simple to complex cleaning. For collecting, one has to have proper tools like a shaped chisel, collecting bag, and wrapping materials to remove fossil in undamaged condition. Carbonized fossils need spraying during collection, while vertebral parts require plaster casts during collection. Wrapping of the fossils once collected needed various materials depending upon the fossil; broken fossils must be safely wrapped to avoid chipping since it leads to losing parts.
Labeling of fossil:
Labeling is the most important in the preparation of fossils. Labeling usually carries the geographical description, the estimated age of the rock, formation, associated formation, and the vertical distance from the ground level in which the fossil is found, etc.
Hardening the fossil:
Polyvinyl acetate in toluene or acetone is a widely used hardener. Cellulose acetate is also used as a substitute for PVA. For carbonized parts, plastic spraying is done with Krylon. This spraying is done only after the water content in the specimen evaporates. Carbon films that are loosely attached are sprayed using non-greasy sprays. Hard fossils must be scrubbed to remove the matrix substance. Sometimes fossils can also need soaking in sodium hypochlorite gasoline. If scrubbing does not remove, the matrix mechanical preparations are used.
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