As previous shipboard sample preparation procedures recommended using flux fusions to dissolve sediment for ICP analyses (Murray et al., 2000; Quintin et al., 2002), the newly developed microwave-assisted acid digestion procedure could enable shipboard scientists to expand the element menu and broaden initial geochemical interpretations based on either ICP-ES or ICP-MS analyses in future IODP laboratories. By comparing samples prepared by flux fusion and microwave-assisted acid digestion, the microwave acid digestion technique demonstrates its ability to achieve a complete digestion. With the addition of boric acid, HF can be used safely, Si can be directly measured, and key elements that are typically compromised by the formation of insoluble fluorides can be preserved. The shipboard flux to shore-based acid digestion comparison demonstrates that the current shipboard procedures are more than adequate to produce quick and accurate geochemical results for first-order geochemical interpretations. As retooling of analytical procedures and analytical capabilities on future expeditions are being considered, microwave acid digestions could be used to digest sediments.