Sieving Samples

Many collectors do not go in for sieving their samples, preferring the sample to stay as originally collected. Personally, I always sieve my samples, be they sand, crushed sandstone or whatever. I do this to keep my samples uniform and tidy which also helps keep me within the guidelines I’ve set for myself – nothing larger than 2.00 mm in size.

The sieve I use for all my sand samples is a home-made one, which comprises an old plastic jar, one that originally held peaches slices, of all things. It was first cut in half, a large hole was then cut into the lid and a circle of 2 mm mesh inserted. The mesh came from a stationary organiser bought at a local pound shop for, yes, a £1.00. The sieve is small enough to be carried in the field.

Once such field use is for samples of fine wind-blown sand, for example those found in sand dunes, where the grain size is generally small but where the sample includes vegetable matter, the sieve easily removes them. As well as collecting sand I also collect samples of sandstone and similar rocks which I crush with a hammer to produce a fine sand. These always need sieved to remove the larger fragments. The same goes for the occasional sample of silt or clay, and also for sorting sand samples from mixed gravel beds found on beaches and along river banks.

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