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Instruments & Labs


Three laboratory spaces (about 2,200 square feet) exist in the basement level of Hamilton Hall (B07, B08, and B09). These labs are dedicated to the analysis of soil, water, and rock geochemistry and the mineralogical compositions of rocks.

These facilities include extensive bench space, available gas, vacuum and air lines, fume hoods, and wireless internet access. The labs are also equipped with a Barnstead pure water system.
Additional laboratory spaces on the 2nd floor (about 1,200 square feet in total) are dedicated to sample preparation and analysis via isotope ratio mass spectrometry and Rock-Eval pyrolysis.

ICP-OES (PerkinElmer Optima 8300)

The Optima 8300 is a bench-top, dual-view ICP-OES with two solid-state SCD detectors, allowing measurement in the same run of high and low concentrations of a variety of samples for enhanced productivity and accuracy even with complex matrices.  The detection limits is about 0.5uM depending on the element being analyzed and the sample matrix.  The instrument gives a linear response over 3-4 orders of magnitude in concentration (e.g., 0.1 - 500 mM Mn).

IC (Dionex ICS-2000)

The ICS-2000  is a totally integrated and preconfigured Reagent-Free (TM) Ion Chromatography system.  It can be used for both major anions and cations analyses.  Currently, it has been set up for anion analyses (fluoride, chloride, bromide, nitrite, nitrate, sulfate and phosphate).

Stable Isotope IRMS (Thermo Delta V Advantage)

Our Thermo Delta V Advantage mass spectrometer is connected with a Elemental Analyzer (Flash EA 1112).  It is available for use to collect data of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen isotopes and elemental concentrations.

Rock-Eval 6

The Rock-Eval 6 analyzer from Vinci Technologies is designed for the characterization of organic matter in petroleum source rocks, although it can alternatively be used for environmental studies. The instrument is a completely automated device consisting of separate pyrolysis and oxidation ovens. Concentrations of hydrocarbon and oxygen-bearing gasses (i.e., CO2 and CO) generated during pyrolysis (and later via oxidation) are measured as a function of heating temperature and time using FID and IR detectors, respectively. The resultant data can be used to assess the type, amounts, thermal maturity, and kinetic behavior of organic matter.

XRD (DIANO 2100-E)

The DIANO 2100E Xray Diffractometer is used to identify crystalline compounds qualitatively and quantitatively if standards are available.
Data collection, display and manipulations are easily done with Diano's XSPEX software.

Thermo Scientific Niton portable XRF analyzer

The XRF offers a rapid, nondestructive method for analysis of soils and sediments.
Applications for the instrument range from the analysis of rock core and cuttings for petroleum exploration to the evaluation of polluted soils and sediments.

Sedimentary Geology Laboratory

The Sedimentary Geology Laboratory is situated in Hamilton Hall 109 and is dedicated to the processing and analysis of sediment and cores.
It houses 120 linear feet of benches for cores examination, a collection of sedimentary rocks specimens, an extensive thematic library, and a meeting area.

Malvern Panalytical Mastersizer 3000 Hydro EV

The Mastersizer 3000 Hydro EV measures the sediment grain size distribution in water solution. The factory operational range is 0.01 – 3500 µm.
The Hydro Sight accessory allows to take real-time pictures of the particles in the laser diffraction measurement flow.

Winx vibracore drill

This vibracore can penetrate a variety of sedimentary materials up to 14 m deep (45 ft, with the current setting), with possibility to add more in 1.5-m rods. Coring capability: 14 m with 2 1/4 in rod; 1.5 ft with 1 1/4 in rod.
The ability to drill without any lubricating fluid makes the corer ideal to prevent sample contamination, and to be used in cold and regulated environments.

Paleomagnetic Laboratory


  • Kappabridge KLY-4S semi-automated susceptometer
  • Kappabridge KLY-3S semi-automated susceptometer
  • Agico JR-6 spinner magnetometer and MMLFC dynamic shield
  • DTech-2000 alternating field demagnetizer
  • Agico LDA AF demagnetizer
  • Three ASC TD48SC thermal demagnetizers
  • ASC IM10 impulse magnetizer
  • IM-10-30 impulse magnetizer
  • Two Bartington MS2 thermomagnetic properties systems
  • Three portable magnetic susceptibility systems (KT9, SM30, MS2)
  • Princeton Measurements Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM) 3900-04
  • GM08 Hirst magnetic Hall probe

Ecosystems research

Picarro GasScouter G4301

The Picarro GasScouter G4301 is a new-generation, light-weight, portable, battery-powered gas concentration analyzer. It conducts simultaneous measurements of CO2, CH4, and H2O concentrations through cavity ring-down spectrometry. The scouter applications range from greenhouse gas fluxes measurements from water, soils, and plants in wetland and upland ecosystems to gas concentration measurements in the lab.


  • Meter group, Leaf porometer system SC-1
  • CID-Bioscience, Leaf spectrometer CI-710S – SpectraVue

General Geophysical Equipment

  • GEODE 24 channel seismograph
  • Betsy Seisgun
  • Capacitively coupled resistivity meter for electrical imaging
  • Geometrics G-856 proton precession magnetometer
  • Geonics EM-38 MKII-RT Ground Conductivity Meter
  • Hand-held gamma-ray spectrometer from Radiation Solutions
  • Worden gravimeter
  • Electronic Total Station

Rock cutting and polishing

Large rock saw

This larger rock saw is fitted with a 24” diamond blade and uses ethylene glycol as lubricant and coolant.

Mansonry saw

This smaller saw is fitted with a 10” diamond blade uses water as lubricant and coolant

Diamond wire saw

Miscellaneous equipment

  • SRI 8610C Gas Chromatograph
  • YSI Model 6820/650 water quality meter
  • UV-VIS photospectrometers (dual-cell benchtop and single cell portable)
  • Digestion vessels, balances, shakers, hot plates, benchtop pH/conductivity/DO meters, centrifuges, ovens, muffle furnace, vacuum extractors, pipettes, temperature-controlled water baths, pure water systems.
  • Rock preparation equipment (We have a separate lab in the engineering building that contains rock saws, crushers, and polishers)
  • Baxter Scientific Products Cryo-Fridge Incubator
  • Labconco Freeze Dry System Freezone 4.5
  • Accumet autotitrator
  • SterilGARD III class 2 vertical flow biological safety cabinet
  • Two class 100 HEPA-filtered clean benches
  • Market Forge Co Sterilmatic sterilizer
  • Portable drills (gas and electric)