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Skidmore College
Stable Isotope and Palæoclimate Analysis Laboratory

General sample submission instructions

Please contact the SPA lab manager before sending samples. Samples should be well-organized, clearly labeled and carefully packaged per the instructions provided for each analysis service. Individual samples should be in appropriately sized, well-sealed containers to avoid sample loss or contamination. Please package samples carefully for shipment. Glass vials should be individually protected and well-padded overall to prevent breakage in shipment; the original partitioned box works well. Please pad the box and place it in a larger cardboard with no room for shifting. Solid samples and filters should be packed in a manner that keeps them dry. Samples which are inadequately packaged (vials broken, caps loose) will be flagged for possible contamination and may not be analyzed if we cannot salvage enough to meet minimum requirements.

Please include a list of your samples that you want analyzed. All samples should be sent with a clearly defined sample identification number. Mark all samples clearly and directly on the sample container and ideally in two places for redundancy. Please use basic characters for sample names. Avoid sample names with characters such as "/", "+", "µ".  Numbers, letters and underscores are OK. Isodat does not like many character types and will ignore them. Sample names with very odd characters or very long names will be given new numerical IDs, and a cross-reference list will be provided.

You may elect to design a run to match prior analyses. Please provide a run sheet for each analysis run to ensure we load and analyze per your requirements. Indeed, in the case of pre-packed EA samples in 96 well trays with provided blanks and standards, a run sheet is required. Contact us if you are not sure how many samples can be analyzed in a run for any analysis. We recommend submitting field blanks, storage blanks and controls as part of the sample batch. We welcome the use of both labeled QC samples and blind QC samples to ensure that we are meeting analytical specs.

Ship to:
Dana Science Center 170
Skidmore College
815 North Boradway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

If you require unused sample material to be returned, we will ship your samples, boxes, and/or coolers back to you post-analysis. Large items (e.g. coolers) may require a FedEx account number. Please ensure we have adequate containers if the originals will not suffice (e.g., water that needs to be placed in smaller containers with no headspace). If return shipping is not requested, we will hold samples for 90 days, after which they may be discarded.