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Department Research Labs


Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Lab - Professor Deanne Rogers

The Earth and Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory houses 12 fast precision workstations that enable a variety of image processing, data analysis, and modeling applications. Students from the Rogers and/or Glotch research groups work in the EPRSL laboratory on a range of projects that involve spectral analysis, planetary geologic mapping, geospatial statistics, light scattering models, thermal models, and stereogrammetry, with the objective of better understanding the physical and chemical processes that have created and modified planetary surfaces over time. 

Facility for Isotope Research & Student Training (FIRST) - Professor Troy Rasbury

This laboratory is equipped with a suite of rock preparation and wet chemistry facilities including a class 100 clean lab. Instrumentation includes a Nu Plasma II MC ICPMS, two IsotopX Phoenix TIMS, and an Agilent 7500cx quadrupole mass spectrometer. We specialize in U-Pb dating of carbonates as well as a variety of radiogenic isotopes such as Sr, Nd and Pb for provenance and correlation. A current focus is on using boron isotopes to investigate paleo-seawater chemistry as well as modern systems such as subterranean groundwater discharge and highly alkaline systems such as Mono Lake.

Stable Isotope Geochemistry Lab - Professor Gregory Henkes

The stable isotope geochemistry laboratory is equipped with two gas-souce isotope ratio mass spectrometers, a Thermo MAT 253 Plus and a Delta V Plus. The MAT 253 Plus is configured to measure clumped isotopes of carbon dioxide gas (masses 44-49), primarily generated by the acid digestion of carbonates. This is done using a custom-built common acid bath and cryogenic purification/gas chromatography device coupled to the mass spectrometer. The Delta V Plus is coupled to a Flash Elemental Analyzer configured to measure carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from combusted organic material, for example, sediments and sedimentary rocks and animal tissues. The laboratory also houses an all-glass vacuum line for cryogenic manipulation of gases, a glass blowing station, a microbalance for precise mass determination, organic and acid fume hoods, dionized water, various ovens and furnaces, and a geologic materials sub-sampling station. 

Vibrational Spectroscopy Lab - Professor Timothy Glotch

The Vibrational Spectroscopy Laboratory in the Center for Planetary Exploration specializes in carefully controlled spectroscopic measurements of Earth and planetary materials designed to enable more quantitative analysis of planetary remote sensing data. Our measurement capabilities include infrared reflectance and emission under appropriate environmental conditions for Mars and airless planetary bodies as well and nano- and micro-scale Raman and infrared reflectance mapping of extraterrestrial samples and their Earth analogs.

Laboratory for the Analysis and Dating of Sediments (LADS) - Professor Daniel  Davis

The core of this facility is the new Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) laboratory for the dating of when relatively young sediments were last exposed to sunlight. The laboratory consists of two rooms. One is dedicated to chemical preparation of sediments and is outfitted with an HF rated fume hood, sinks, and sieves, as well as an oven, a centrifuge and various core-cutting tools.  The other room houses a Risø TL/OSL reader with clusters of IR and blue stimulation light LEDs and a  90Sr/ 90Y beta source. Both rooms are equipped with dual lighting, white and subdued red for the processing of samples without resetting their luminescence ages. The lab has access to an ICP-MS for radionuclide analysis and dose rate determination, located within the FIRST isotope lab of Proessor Troy Rasbury.

LADS is also adjacent to a room designated to microscopy, with access to a shatter box and Mastersizer 2000 grain size analyzer.

The Experimental Petrology Lab  - Professor Hanna Nekvasil

The Experimental Petrology Laboratory houses equipment that simulate conditions ranging from 1 bar and high temperature, as experienced by volcanic gases, to pressures and temperatures of the upper mantle, as expected in magma source regions. These include several 1 atm furnaces, a bank of hydrothermal vessels, and three piston-cylinder apparatuses, and the required support equipment. This laboratory is used for petrologic investigations related to Earth, Mars and the Moon, as well as for synthesis of minerals and glass for structural studies, alteration experiments, and isotopic and trace element analysis.