SESAR Vocabularies

This page contains the controlled or recommended vocabularies used for select SESAR metadata fields.  Controlled lists are marked with an asterisk (*).

See the SESAR Quick Guide for the complete list of SESAR metadata fields and their definitions.

If you have questions about metadata content, please contact the SESAR Curator at

Registration Metadata

Sample Type (Object) *

SESAR registers specimens and related sampling features collected from the natural environment.

  • Core – long cylindrical cores
  • Core Catcher – material recovered from the core catcher of a sedimentary core and which is treated as a separate section from the core.
  • Core Half Round – half-cylindrical products of along-axis split of a whole round
  • Core Piece – material occurring between unambiguous [as curated] breaks in recovery.
  • Core Quarter Round – quarter-cylindrical products of along-axis split of a half round.
  • Core Section – arbitrarily cut segments of a “core”
  • Core Section Half  – half-cylindrical products of along-axis split of a section or its component fragments through a selected diameter.
  • Core Slab – rectangular prism of material taken from a core where one dimension is significantly shorter than the others.
  • Core Sub-Piece – unambiguously mated portion of a larger piece noted for curatorial management of the material.
  • Core U-Channel – long rectangular prism of material for continuous measurement.
  • Core Whole Round – cylindrical segments of core or core section material.
  • CTD – a CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) cast sample.
  • Cuttings – loose, coarse, unconsolidated material suspended in drilling fluid.
  • Dredge  – a group of rocks collected by dragging a dredge along the seafloor.
  • Experimental Specimen– a synthetic material used during an experiment
  • Grab – a sample (sometimes mechanically collected) from a deposit or area, not intended to be representative of the deposit or area.
  • Hole – hole cavity and walls surrounding that cavity.
  • Individual Sample – a sample that is an individual unit, including rock hand samples, a biological specimen, or a bottle of fluid.
  • Oriented Core – core that can be positioned on the surface in the same way that it was arranged in the borehole before extraction.
  • Other – a sample that does not fit any of the existing type designations. It is expected that further detailed description of the particular sample will be provided.
  • Rock Powder – a sample created from pulverizing a rock to powder.
  • Site – a place where a sample is collected.
  • Terrestrial Section – a sample of a section of the near-surface Earth, generally in the critical zone.

Is your sample not in the list?

If you would like to register a sample type that is not listed above, please contact

Material *

Material that the sample consists of “Rock”, “Mineral”, “Liquid>aqueous”

  • Biology
  • Gas
  • Ice
  • Liquid>aqueous
  • Liquid>organic
  • Mineral
  • NotApplicable
  • Organic Material
  • Other
  • Particulate
  • Plant Structure
  • Rock
  • Sediment
  • Soil
  • Synthetic

Descriptive Metadata

Sub-Object Type*

If the object type for a sample is Individual Sample or Experimental Specimen, users may elect to enter a sub-object type.

Individual Sample

  • Bead Bead pressed from a powder.
  • Chemical Fraction- Parts of a parent sample separated chemically.
  • Cube- Equidimensional prism of material.
  • Culture- Biological material cultured in geological material.
  • Cylinder- Cylinders of material.
  • Gas- A gaseous material.
  • Liquid- A liquid material.
  • Mechanical Fraction- Parts of a parent sample separated mechanically.
  • Powder- Fine-grained (<62 micron), dry, granular material.
  • Slab- Rectangular prism of material where one dimension is significantly shorter than the others.
  • Smear- A toothpick sample suspended in liquid and fixed on slide.
  • Specimen- Material of any shape or form selected for specific characteristics of interest.
  • Squeeze Cake- Solid fraction remaining after forced expulsion of interstitial fluids from a source sample; typically has the shape of a cylindrical disc.
  • Thin Section- A sub-millimeter thick slice of material mounted on a glass slide.
  • Toothpick- Minute amount of material taken for observation.
  • Wedge- Sample form factor named for the tool used to extract it. Typically 5-20 ml in volume.

Experimental Specimen

  • Thin Section
  • Other

Classification (Rock) *

Formal categorization of sample.

Click here for complete list.

Classification (Mineral) *

Formal categorization of sample.

Click here for complete list.

Classification (Biology) *

Formal categorization of sample.

  • Macrobiology
  • Macrobiology>Coral
  • Microbiology

Biology classifications are under review. If you would like to take part in the discussion, contact

Collection Method

Method by which a sample was collected.

  • Blasting
  • Camera SledCamera tow
  • Coring
  • Coring>BoxCorer
  • Coring>CameraMounted
  • Coring>DrillCorer
  • Coring>FreeFallCorer
  • Coring>GravityCorer
  • Coring>GravityCorer>Giant
  • Coring>GravityCorer>Pilot
  • Coring>HandHeldCorer
  • Coring>KastenlotCorer
  • Coring>MultiCorer
  • Coring>PistonCorer
  • Coring>PistonCorer>Giant
  • Coring>RockCorer
  • Coring>SideSaddleCorer
  • Coring>SubmersibleMountedCorer
  • Coring>TriggerWeightCorer
  • Coring>VibratingCorer
  • Dredging
  • Dredging>Chain Bag
  • Dredging>ChainBagDredge
  • Experimental Apparatus
  • Grab
  • Grab>HOV
  • Grab>ROV
  • Manual
  • Manual>Hammer
  • Probe
  • Sediment trap
  • Suspended sediment
  • Unknown


Country where the sample was collected

Click here for complete list.

Navigation Type*

We follow the MGDS Navigation Type list.

  • DGPS
  • DVL
  • DVL:Renav
  • DVL:Renav:Confirmed
  • DVL/LBL:Renav
  • DVL/LBL:Renav:Confirmed
  • DVL/USBL:Renav
  • GPS
  • GPS:Assumed
  • GPS/WireOut
  • LBL
  • Locale
  • NotApplicable
  • NotProvided
  • USBL

Physiographic feature

Type of physical feature that your sample was collected from

  • abyssal feature
  • alluvial fan
  • anticline
  • aquifer
  • arch (natural formation)
  • arroyo
  • badlands
  • bank (hydrographic)
  • bar (physiographic)
  • basin
  • bay
  • beach
  • bight
  • canyon
  • cape
  • cave
  • channel
  • cirque
  • cliff
  • continental divide
  • continental margin
  • crater
  • delta
  • drainage basin
  • drumlin
  • dune
  • earthquake feature
  • estuary
  • fault
  • fault zone
  • flat
  • floodplain
  • fold (geologic)
  • fracture zone
  • gap
  • gulf
  • gut
  • hydrothermal vent
  • ice mass
  • isthmus
  • karst area
  • lake
  • lava field
  • ledge
  • massif
  • mesa
  • mineral deposit area
  • moraine
  • mountain
  • mountain range
  • mountain summit
  • ocean trench
  • outcrop
  • plain
  • plateau
  • playa
  • reef
  • ridge
  • rift zone
  • roadcut
  • seamount
  • sea
  • stream
  • submarine canyon
  • syncline
  • thermal feature
  • valley
  • volcano

Platform and Launch types

Type of platform for the cruise.

  • AUV
  • Ship
  • HOV
  • ROV
  • Small craft
  • Submersible / HOV