Can I clean fossil samples with acetone, or will this damage them?

  • What are your fossils made of? – Gimelist Sep 13 at 9:29
  • If the fossil has been worked on before it may have acetone based glues holding it together, in which case the fossils cab become much more fragile as you dissolve the glue, just something to watch out for. – John Sep 13 at 14:25

It depends on what you want to use them for.

If you might someday want to extract DNA from them, or do some other chemical analysis, then it's probably a bad idea.

If you only want to display them, and you like the way they look after acetone treatment, then it should be OK.

Test on some samples you don't care about first.

  • Depends on the chemical analysis. Acetone will not matter for major oxides (eg calcium silicon etc). It will matter for organic material though, but I doubt that OP's fossil is suitable for organic material analysis, as these are exceptionally rare and require lots of expertise to handle, thus nulling the need the ask this question. – Gimelist Sep 13 at 13:33
  • That's a good point. But we can't be sure what kind of analysis might be wanted later, so I say it's better not to do it unless you have decided that the fossils are mostly for display. – J Thomas Sep 13 at 17:44
  • I'm an amateur collector so I'm not entirely sure of the mineral contents of the fossil themselves. I was planning on using PVA n h – Justin Sep 13 at 18:17
  • Sorry phone cut out.. I was planning on using PVA in the field and then soaking in acetone later when I wanted to do cleanup, back home. – Justin Sep 13 at 18:20
  • I'm also very open to using alternative glues. Just looking for something that hardens quickly and that I can remove later, without damaging the sample. – Justin Sep 13 at 18:23

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