The Geoscience Department offers multiple lab spaces for use by students and faculty.
Our 24-hour-accessible computer lab features geographic information systems and water modeling software for class and personal use as well as tools such as Mathematica and MS Office. Geoscience laboratory spaces include facilities for sedimentology, petrology, mineralogy, rock preparation, and geochemistry. These labs were recently rearranged for flexible use by both upper- and first-level classes.
Modern analytical equipment includes a laser diffraction particle size analyzer, used in grain size analysis of sediment samples. Topographic survey equipment includes a laser theodolite/electronic distance meter.
For geochemistry and trace element analysis of solids, we utilize both field-portable and bench top x-ray fluorescence units. The x-ray powder diffraction unit determines the identity and quantity of minerals in rock and soil samples, utilizing advanced software. Preparation areas feature new or rebuilt rock saws, thin section equipment, new sieving apparatus, a modern magnetic separator primarily for work with zircon crystals used in geochronology, and dust-isolating crushing and grinding mills. A rod mill allows preparation of very fine evenly sized powders, and a spray dryer produces spherical aggregates for x-ray diffraction. New display microscope facilities feature a large plasma screen for teaching. The inductively coupled plasma spectrometer, shared with chemistry, gives accurate major and trace element analysis of solutions, including low levels of inorganic toxins such as lead.