Collections and Sample Requests

The MGSL currently maintains a collection of sediment cores, dredge rock samples, ROV grab and push core samples, and coastal surface sediment grab samples. All samples are currently available for distribution to scientific investigators, educators, and museums under our institutional sample distribution policy.

All sample metadata, including location, water depth and sample type, are included in the Index to Marine and Lacustrine Geological Samples (IMLGS) database operated by NOAA. The database has a map search interface, in addition to a table listing of our collections, that can be used to browse samples held at the MGSL. These websites can also be used to search and discover samples available from other marine geological sample repositories around the US.

Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, submit a sample request to our curators. Contact us if you need any assistance!

Submit Sample Request Form

Information needed for a request:

  1. Requests for rocks and cores use the same form.
  2. Contact information for the requester (and PI, if different), including mailing address to which samples should be shipped.
  3. Provide information about the samples you would like to request:
    1. NOAA’s IMLGS database provides information about the samples at URI’s repository, including the sample identifiers.
    2. Provide some information on the specific analysis techniques you plan to use, and funding sources (if any). 
    3. Describe what part of the sample you want to request/will use (e.g., picked or sieved fraction, glass, fresh interior, etc.).
    4. Please specify the sample size you are requesting either in terms of weight or dimensions (e.g., “thin section tab”, “2 g”, “5 cc”, etc.). If you are requesting a core, you must provide the upper and lower bounds of the core length you would like to request. Standard sample sizes range from 2-20 cc for core sediment. If you would like to request larger sample sizes, please contact the curator.
    5. Please provide any further comments or notes, or specific sampling/shipping instructions if needed.
  4. Upload file: The request form includes links to blank spreadsheet templates for listing your samples. Please download the template to your computer before filling it out, saving it, and uploading it to the form.

Please read our Sample Distribution Policy for more information.

Submit Sample Request Form


Special Collections

Schilling Seafloor Glass Collection

The Schilling Seafloor Glass Collection contains hundreds of glass separates from individual pillow lavas in our dredge collection, and from many samples for which the parent rocks may be archived elsewhere. These glasses are our most popular sub-collection, because prior studies have built a rich foundation of existing geochemical data upon which to base future work. A complete compilation of published geochemical data for the glass collection is available upon request from the curators. Access a partial compilation here:

Kelley, K. A., R. H. Kingsley, and J.-G. Schilling (2013), Composition of plume-influenced mid-ocean ridge lavas and glasses from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, East Pacific Rise, Galápagos Spreading Center, and Gulf of Aden, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., 14(1), doi:10.1002/ggge.20049.

Data are archived here:

E/V Nautilus Geological Samples Collection

MGSL is the official geological archive of the E/V Nautilus, which has a mission of ocean exploration accomplished via ROV observations and sampling. Seafloor geological samples are shipped to MGSL, described, and curated for future use by requesting scientists. Search E/V Nautilus holdings at IMLGS.

Other Special Collections

Ongoing efforts in our facility are working to make thin sections, smear slides, powdered samples, and a host of other materials available for loan in the near future. Contact us if you are interested in any of these.