Colors of deep sea sediments

Covered by more than 4000 meters of water in the South China Sea, deep sea sediments come out to the surface during the drilling. Apparently they are quite uniform and dark, ranging from gray-black to greenish. However, a good close up can reveal some funny colors. Here an example with some psychedelic quartz grains, observed under Polarized light. This light is used in microscopy to allow identification of birefringent minerals and microfossils (birefringence is and optical property that is related with the refraction and propagation of light).


Cubiertos bajo mas de 4000 metros de profundidad en el Mar de china, los sedimentos profundos marinos vuelven a la superficie con los testigos de perforacion recuperados. Aparentemente son bastante oscuros, y bastante uniformes, entre gris-negro y verduzco. Sin embargo, si se miran mas de cerca, se pueden ver algunos colores mas alegres. Aqui un ejemplo de unos cuarzos con luz polarizada. La luz polarizada se usa en microscopia para identificar algunos microfosiles y minerales birrefringentes (birrefringencia es una propiedad optica que esta relacionada con la refraccion y propagacion de la luz).

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