October 12, 2008

Ugh II

Still no idea what went wrong. Fortunately, the geochemist rescued 4 of my samples. The data aren't great, but they're usable. One sample ran perfectly, ET42. Why? No idea. It went through columns the same day as other samples that didn't work. It was dissolved in 3.5 M HNO3 the same day as other samples that didn't work. It only contained 5.7 mg of enamel, and other samples contained more. Every sample was drilled with a hand-held dental drill.

Two Sr standards were loaded into the turret with my samples. One worked fine, but the other was a bit high. The geochemist said that the pressure on the mass spec was a bit low but that that shouldn't cause all my samples to fail. It's still possible that I suck at loading samples. If I failed to load the samples correctly, they might not work. Unfortunately, I loaded 25 samples the other day. Fortunately, we only load half of each sample, so I still have another half in reserve. Unfortunately, the geochemist thinks there was something wrong in the columns and not in the loading.

Crap.

Ah well. Of the 5 samples that worked, one appears to be an immigrant, also from the .7085 area. Which just fits with my current prediction that 20% of the people I'm studying were born elsewhere (based on the first 35 samples I ran).

Let's hope that the next turret, which is currently loaded up with 19 of my samples, runs a lot better tomorrow.

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