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Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geological Collections

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geological Collections

About this collection


6761 digital objects.

Cite This Work

Norris, Richard (2013). Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geological Collections. UC San Diego Library Digital Collections.


The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geological Collections is a growing archive of sea-floor samples and associated data supporting a diverse variety of scientific research. The SIO geological collections are supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.

This portal provides access to available digital records of samples held by the SIO Geological Collections. The digital records contain information on sample contents (lithology, composition, mineralogy, etc.), location and date of collection, cruise and ship names, and methods of collection and storage, as well as related digital research data for the samples, including images, x-ray images and video, x-ray fluorescence data, and color data.

The SIO core collection contains nearly 6,600 cores collected using gravity, piston, trigger, vibra- and box-coring techniques. It is the largest collection in the U.S. (outside that of the Ocean Drilling Program) of sediments from the Pacific Ocean and also contains extensive material from the other major ocean basins.

The SIO dredged rocks collection consists of more than 3,500 dredge hauls and related archive materials. The collection includes rocks from a wide variety of physiographic provinces located throughout the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans. All major tectonic features, including hot spots, island chains, seamounts, and abyssal plains are represented. Rock types include drowned coral reef rocks, ice-rafted rocks, and manganese nodules, as well as very rare igneous, metamorphic, and mantle rocks.

When using this digital port to search for samples, there is useful information held within each sample name, including the cruise name, cruise leg, and ship on which the sample was collected, as well as the sample number and how the sample was collected. For example, here is a full sample name:


“RNDB” is an abbreviation for the cruise, ROUNDABOUT. “15” is the leg of the cruise. For “RNDB” there are 15 legs, but the numbers of legs varies for all cruises. “WT” is an abbreviation for the ship associated with the cruise on which the samples were collected. In the case of “WT”, this is the ship the Thomas Washington. “111” is the sample number and “D” is how the sample was collected, in this case a dredge. For cores, you may see “P” for piston core, “PG” for piston gravity core, “G” for gravity and “BX” for box core. For grabs, you will see “GB”.

To search only items in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geological Collections, use the search bar on this page. You can search by sample name, cruise and ship names, how the sample was collected, what the sample contains (lithology, composition, mineralogy, etc…), date of collection, age of sample (if known) or any other information you may know about a sample or may be looking for in a sample. You will also have the option to “Limit your search” further by predefined topics and formats.

To search using a map interface, visit The Index to Marine and Lacustrine Geological Samples Interactive Map.

To search for more information about cruises, visit SIO Explorer.

For more information about the physical collections, visit the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geological Collections website.

Creation Date
  • 1950 to 2006
Corporate Name


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