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!

Request Samples

Information needed for a request:

  1. Requests for rocks and cores will use the same form.
  2. Complete the form by providing the Principal Investigator’s contact information, including mailing address.
  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 identifier used to fill out the “Full (rock/core) sample name” box.
    2. In the “Purpose” box, please provide the specific analysis techniques you plan to use. 
    3. In the “Material” box, please state what part of the sample you want to request/will use.
    4. If you are requesting a rock, please provide the sample size you are requesting either in terms of weight or dimensions. Examples of typical sample types/sizes range from thin section tab or 0-10g for rocks. 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 ccs for core sediment. If you would like to request larger sample sizes you may contact the curator.
    5. You can fill the “comments” box with any further sampling/shipping instructions.
  4. Upload file: If you are requesting a large number of samples, you may attach an excel sheet with specifications for the samples you are requesting. 

Please read our Sample Distribution Policy for more information.

Request Samples


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.