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Cuttings and Cores

When an oil or gas well is drilled, small rock chips called "cuttings" are found. These are ground up and broken off by the drill as it cuts into the earth. Scientists study these cuttings to learn more about the age and chemistry of the underground rocks.

Larger rock samples, called cores, can also be cut using a special drill. Coring costs more money to do, but drillers and scientists learn important things from the samples. Even if they do not find oil or gas, it still provides information about underground rocks, plants and animals found in the area hundreds of thousands of years ago.