Labs & Facilities

Modern laboratory facilities are an integral part of our research program in the Department of Earth Sciences.


The Department of Earth Sciences is equipped with a number of multi-user facilities, including a computer lab for remote sensing, GIS, and modeling techniques, a sample preparation and characterization laboratory (e.g, rock-cutting and sample preparation equipment, petrographic microscopes, XRD, and SEM-EDS), and a wide variety of field equipment. The nearby Kresge Science Library supports Earth Science research through extensive collections of online and print journals, geologic maps, major reference works, book collections, and a tremendous support staff. 

Earth Sciences


The Department of Earth Sciences is well equipped with many modern research facilities. These currently include a variety of thermal ionization and gas source mass spectrometers, inductively coupled plasma and optical emission mass spectrometers, gas and liquid chromatographs with isotope ratio mass spectrometers, infrared spectrometers, magnetometers, and research-grade petrographic microscopes. These instruments and others are described in their respective lab pages below.

Fallout RadioNuclide Analytics Lab

Geomicrobiology & Microbial Geochemistry Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Leavitt for performing laboratory experiments to study microbes from common and extreme environments, stable isotope geochemistry, and biogeochemistry.

Glaciology Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Hawley to study the physical properties of snow and ice.

Ice Core Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Osterberg for ice core processing, sampling, and analysis.

Mag Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Slotznick for characterizing the composition and magnetism of Earth materials.

Mineral Separation Lab

Planetary Data Analysis and Visualization Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Palucis for performing analyses of planetary surface processes using advanced computing.

Planetary Surface Dynamics Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Palucis for the examination of sediment transport.

Quaternary Geology Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Kelly for cosmogenic nuclide dating and sediment core analysis.

Radiogenic Isotope Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Sharma for radiogenic isotopes.

Stable Isotope Lab

  • A facility led by Dr. Feng for stable isotope geochemistry.

Trace Elements and Analysis Core

  • A facility led by Dr. Jackson for major and trace element geochemistry.
Earth Sciences

Core Facilities

Materials Characterization

  • A shared facility that includes XRD, SEM and ICP-OES resources.

Sample Prep Laboratory

  • A rock and soil processing facility for general use.

GIS and Remote Sensing Lab

  • A laboratory with computers and software for remote sensing and GIS.

Mineral Collections

  • An online database of mineral and rock samples that is currently accessible on-campus only.

Computing Lab

  • A set of high performance computing laboratories with specialized software.

Petrography Lab

  • A laboratory for thin section analyses and collection of petrographic data.