Radiolaria can be preserved in all types of marine sedimentary rocks, the method for their extraction being dependent on the mineralogy of the radiolarian test and the nature of the rock-type in which they occur. In the past radiolaria could only be viewed in thin section (Hinde, 1890; Hinde & Fox, 1895), with no method of detecting the presence of radiolaria prior to sectioning. Modern extraction techniques are normally laboratory based and use hazardous chemicals, therefore it is advantageous to establish the radiolarian content of the sample before collection and transportation back to the laboratory. This can be achieved in a number of ways:-
1. Non-lithified sediments. Radiolaria are separated from the sediment by washing the sample over a set of small sieves. Two mesh sizes should be used, a coarse mesh around 150μm to separate large litho-fragments, and a fine mesh no greater than 63μm to concentrate the radiolaria. The fine fraction is then washed with dilute hydrochloric acid (HCl) to eliminate the calcareous microfossils, leaving a pure radiolarian sludge, which is dried on filter paper.
2. Siliceous rock-types. Methods for extracting radiolaria from cherts have been in use since the early 1970’s (Dumitrica, 1970; Pessagno & Newport, 1972), and have recently been applied to field-work (Cordey & Krauss, 1990). The recognition of fossiliferous bedded cherts is possible with the use of a hand-lens in good sunlight. If radiolaria are present, they should be detectable as small protrusions, especially along laminae. To extract the radiolaria, break up the sample. . .
- © 1991 The Micropalaeontological Society