Let's Talk Science: The Quartz Car Wash

Welcome to our blog series, “Let’s Talk Science,” where we break down the science behind our team’s work. With the team back from Antarctica, many people are wondering… “what now?” Today, we’ll share with you one of the first things our team will do once back home.

We’ve talked a lot about Mapping, but now it is time for us to talk about Measuring. Remember all those rock samples we collected? Well, inside those rock samples is quartz!

Quartz sample in the field.

Quartz sample while in the field.

Quartz is very special to us because it holds the chemicals that we measure. But before we can measure those chemicals, we have to clean up the quartz. There are a few steps to our cleaning process

  1. We crush the quartz into really small pieces.

  2. Then we use magnets to remove the metal in the quartz.

  3. Last, we wash the quartz pieces with acid to remove any other minerals.

You can think of this process like a really intense car wash. When you go into the car wash, you want to get all the extra grime and dirt off your car so that it is looks shiny and new. We want to do the same with quartz (but I’d bet you don’t smash your car to pieces)

Once our quartz is washed, we can prepare it to measure the chemicals it holds. But you’ll have to visit again next week to learn more about that!

Got a science question for us? Leave it here and we can answer it for you. Maybe we’ll even feature it in our blog!

#LetsTalkScience #Quartz #Education

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