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New field definitions for speleothems, cave minerals and samples

The problem with the existing IUS entity, ``SM: Specimen'', is that it is not yet defined. Possibly it was intended to be used with biological specimens, possibly it was for mineral samples, possibly any specimens. The type of information collected is different in each case (biological vs mineral); possibly so different that some would suggest they should be specified in different entity definitions.

I will attempt however to keep them together: see Table 2.

Table 2: Proposed Field Definitions for Entity SM: Specimen
Entity: SM Specimen
Field Description
01 Biological Specimen
02 Geological Specimen
03 Hydrological Specimen
04 Meteorological Specimen
05 ...Other Specimen (yet to be defined)

The table can be continued to accommodate additional fields.

This paper is concerned with Geological Specimens, which includes speleothems. Other people may care to tackle the definitions for their field of endeavour.

In the field of Geological Specimens, we may need to prepare Table Definitions for the following items:

Unique identifiers
are required for each sample. Note that one sample can be subdivided (broken, cleaved, sectioned, etc) into multiple sub-samples. The method I am using at present is to use the Cave Tag number, followed by a sequence (discussed later). For purposes of database field definitions, you actually need two numbers. One number is simply a unique sequence number, and the other is what is written on the sample bag or container.
Define what the sample is
using Hill & Forti definitions (or new ones where H & F is inadequate) The sample could be a speleothem, bedrock, mineral, etc (discussed later).
Naming conventions for speleothem types and subtypes
If the sample is a speleothem, it should be named (after Hill & Forti 1997). This could be a list, if the sample contains more than one speleothem. Therefore a table of speleothem types, subtypes and varieties is required. This opens a ``can of worms'' - see my article on classifying helictites (Rowling 2001)
Naming conventions for cave minerals
If the sample is a mineral, it should be named (after Hill & Forti 1997 and after Dana). This could be a list, if the sample contains many minerals. Therefore a table of minerals is required.
Crystal classification
If appropriate, crystal classification (Russian system) may be needed. Therefore a table of crystal classifications is required.
Who holds samples
For sub-divided samples, this definition may be applied to the sub-sample. There are two ways of doing this. One way is to simply have a text field, but the better way would be to have a table of people who hold samples.
Present location of samples
There could be a table of locations where samples are held.
Sample numbering scheme
Each scientist has their own way of numbering things. Perhaps we could define a scheme which works for everyone.
What tests have been performed on the sample. A table of tests could be devised, although that may be rather large. In this case, possibly there could be a table of the more common tests, with ``other'' being described as a text field.
Where the sample was taken from, eg the surface, underground, twilight zone, underwater, buried in sediment, and so on as well as some description about the sample location and the cave (or nearest cave). This could be done as a series of tables together with a link to the cave ID in the Caves Database.
Publications on the sample (preferably cross reference as per IUS Article definitions)

next up previous
Next: Interested Parties Up: Sharing information on Speleothems Previous: Existing relevant IUS field