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Author Topic: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time  (Read 76239 times)

Joe Cerniglia

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New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« on: September 13, 2013, 03:39:27 PM »

Our TIGHAR Research group, comprised of Bill Lockhart, Dr. Thomas King, Greg George and myself, are today releasing results of a year of research on the freckle ointment pot, which TIGHAR has generously published here

The full link is here:
http://tighar.org/Projects/Earhart/Archives/Research/ResearchPapers/freckleintime/FreckleInTime.html

In this report, we are sharing all our experiments and lab work.  We invite further research and analysis by you, all AE Forum members past, present and future who actively wrestle with this "poor little jar," and to whom this paper is respectfully dedicated.

Special thanks also honor Ric Gillespie and Pat Thrasher, for the hours they spent reviewing, editing and completing and to the EPAC, which provided the critique it needed at critical moments, and to the expeditionaries of Niku VI, who recovered and brought this artifact back from Nikumaroro.

We invite all comments.

Cheers,

Greg George, Joe Cerniglia, Bill Lockhart, and Thomas King
September 13, 2013
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 03:49:42 PM by Joe Cerniglia »
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Laura Gridley

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 03:53:33 PM »

Excellent!  Excited to read it.  Thank you for the effort and time spent doing this.  Off to read now...
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Jeff Victor Hayden

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 07:07:06 PM »

A very comprehensive report Joe, well done to the team. One point it does make very clear is that, until you have something physical and tangible in your hands then investigating and proving becomes extremely difficult. Images and photographs are open to opinion but, to have something in your hand that you can examine, test and investigate thoroughly is an advantage to say the least. Let's take this point on board and move on.



This must be the place
 
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Doug Giese

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 09:09:57 PM »

Excellent and very thorough job!
------
Doug
 
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Jennifer Hubbard

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 09:18:26 PM »

I've been lurking here for a while, but since I'm a scientist and not an aircraft researcher, never dreamed I would be posting.

My scientific background is relevant to this report, though, so here goes. This report is fascinating and thorough, and the conclusions are well thought-out.

I do see a couple of minor discrepancies having to do with the units reported on some of the analyses. These do not appear to affect any of the conclusions of the report, however, but I note them for clarity and also because I find it important to have correct units, because later researchers will often refer back to earlier reports and will rely on the units as reported.

The apparent discrepancies are:
Under "What did 2-9-S-1 contain?" this statement:
"The test results showed mercury in the interior at a level of 4 micrograms (µg) per 50 milliliters (ml) of solute."
The analytical reports by EAG show that the concentration in the liquid was 4 micrograms per liter. (The Coke bottle report by EAG shows it as 0.004 mg/L, which is the same as 4 ug/L.)
It appears, therefore, that there were 50 mL of leachate containing 4 ug/L of mercury, rather than 50 mL containing 4 ug of mercury. (4 ug in 50 mL would be 80 ug/L.)

The assumption that there were 50 mL containing 4 ug/L of mercury was used in the spreadsheet where this concentration was converted to a mass per surface area figure for comparison with background surfaces. On that spreadsheet, it appears that the units in cell A1 are ug/L, and in cell H1 should be ug Hg per cm2, not ug per liter per cm2. (The liters canceled out.)

Again, I think the numbers are correct, but if I'm following this then the units just need to be tweaked.

I'm now going to be away from computers for the next week. If I'm wrong here, please excuse me!
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Greg Daspit

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 09:36:24 PM »

Great report and very informative!
That is one special jar. I like the map included that shows one of the pieces was far away from the others and has evidence of scraping.
3971R
 
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 03:55:52 AM »



The apparent discrepancies are:
Under "What did 2-9-S-1 contain?" this statement:
"The test results showed mercury in the interior at a level of 4 micrograms (µg) per 50 milliliters (ml) of solute."
The analytical reports by EAG show that the concentration in the liquid was 4 micrograms per liter. (The Coke bottle report by EAG shows it as 0.004 mg/L, which is the same as 4 ug/L.)
It appears, therefore, that there were 50 mL of leachate containing 4 ug/L of mercury, rather than 50 mL containing 4 ug of mercury. (4 ug in 50 mL would be 80 ug/L.)
Hi Jennifer.  I will have our chemist review this. We may have neglected to state the concentration was converted on a liter basis.  I want to make sure that is indeed what the lab did.  If not, it would appear our Hg concentration is far higher than we supposed.

Quote
The assumption that there were 50 mL containing 4 ug/L of mercury was used in the spreadsheet where this concentration was converted to a mass per surface area figure for comparison with background surfaces. On that spreadsheet, it appears that the units in cell A1 are ug/L, and in cell H1 should be ug Hg per cm2, not ug per liter per cm2. (The liters canceled out.)

Again, I think the numbers are correct, but if I'm following this then the units just need to be tweaked.

I'm now going to be away from computers for the next week. If I'm wrong here, please excuse me!
Thanks for paying close attention.  I believe we converted on the spreadsheet from ml to a liter basis. 

I will get back in a few days.

Joe Cerniglia ~ TIGHAR #3078ECR




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Monty Fowler

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 06:27:25 AM »

This is what I love about this place - you never know where the expertise is going to pop up.

And we treat everyone equally. They are all compensated at the going TIGHAR Researcher rate!

LTM, who managed to pass chemistry,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 CER
Ex-TIGHAR member No. 2189 E C R SP, 1998-2016
 
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Daniel R. Brown

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 11:11:40 AM »

Joe, Jennifer is right about the Hg calculations. Further, in the spreadsheet you show the radius of the area rinsed with aqua regia as being 20 mm, so the total area would have been about 12.56 square centimeters, a good bit larger than a postage stamp with area of about 5 square centimeters. Better re-check that math (maybe the _diameter_ was 20 mm). Also, what was the mass of the dissolved glass shards? That's important to know to interpret the ppm shown in the report versus the amount of Hg recovered in the rinse.

Dan Brown, #2408
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 04:46:37 PM »

Joe, Jennifer is right about the Hg calculations. Further, in the spreadsheet you show the radius of the area rinsed with aqua regia as being 20 mm, so the total area would have been about 12.56 square centimeters, a good bit larger than a postage stamp with area of about 5 square centimeters. Better re-check that math (maybe the _diameter_ was 20 mm). Also, what was the mass of the dissolved glass shards? That's important to know to interpret the ppm shown in the report versus the amount of Hg recovered in the rinse.

Dan Brown, #2408

Hi Dan, The shard tested represented about 55% of the base, so the whole circle cannot be counted. You may be assuming I had 100% of the base area. At roughly one-half your calculated area, around 6.2 square cm, it's very close to the area of a postage stamp, which you cite as 5 square cm.

The total dissolving (digestion) of glass was for a different and unrelated experiment for glass elements, in pursuit of the question of when the jar might have been manufactured. I don't think that relates to the Hg but I may not understand your question.

Regarding Jennifer's comment, I've gone over the math and I think I was mistaken in how I calculated the concentration per surface area.  The correct calculation should raise the amount by which Hg exceeds a clean background.   I will follow up and fix this.

None of this invalidates the premise that the mercury was found on the inside of the shard of the jar at considerable quantity.  But it's important to get this right and I will.

Joe Cerniglia ~ 3078ECR
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Daniel R. Brown

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 05:20:26 PM »

To some extent it's apples and oranges, but by my calculations the testing recovered 0.2 micrograms of Hg from the interior surface rinse, and 8.9 micrograms of Hg from the chip (100 milligrams) of whole glass.

Dan Brown, #2408
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Joe Cerniglia

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 06:46:37 PM »

We address the issue of the mercury in the glass head-on in the paper in footnote #16.  You can be sure it generated a lot of discussion. We determined, happily, that the issue was entirely unrelated to mercury levels in the interior surface of the shard, for the reasons stated in the footnote.

Joe Cerniglia ~ TIGHAR #3078ECR
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Daniel R. Brown

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 07:20:13 AM »

The better control is the rinse of the outer surface, which found no Hg above the limit of detection. That's pretty persuasive. The only other point I would comment on is the concluding assertion, "Mercury in ointments had a single purpose..." which is doubtful because the antiseptic properties of mercury were well-known at the time and many antiseptic ointments of that period contained ammoniated mercury.

All in all a thorough report and you guys have done a commendable job following up on it.

Dan Brown, #2408
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Jon Romig

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 10:43:35 AM »

...many antiseptic ointments of that period contained ammoniated mercury.

Dan, do you have evidence for this interesting assertion?

Thanks,

Jon
Jon Romig 3562R
 
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Daniel R. Brown

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Re: New Artifact Report: A Freckle in Time
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 01:50:25 PM »

Jon, abundant evidence simply by Google, plus very many period newspaper ads. It's fact.

Dan Brown, #2408
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