The Sedimentary Systems Laboratory is equipped with tools for measuring stratigraphic sections, field mapping, paleocurrent analysis, sample collection and preparation, mineral separation and clast-composition analysis.


Sample preparation and mineral separation facilities include standard crushing, pulverizing and milling equipment, density and magnetic separation equipment, picking microscopes, sieves, as well as saws and grinding facilities for the preparation of slabs, thin sections and slides. The lab also includes basic wet and dry chemistry facilities and equipment. The laboratory contains Nikon petrographic and picking microscopes equipped with an X-Y point-counting stage, dedicated desktop computer, and PELCON modal analysis software for grain population analyses and documentation.

Software, Hardware

The Sedimentary Systems Laboratory is equipped with three PC workstations and one Macintosh PC for the interpretation, visualization, analysis and documentation of subsurface and outcrop data. Seismic reflection interpretation and visualization are accomplished using SMT’s Kingdom Suite software package, and well-log analysis combines Kingdom

Suite with geoLOGIC’s geoSCOUT and geoPLUS’ PETRA. Basin modeling is accomplished using a Schlumberger PETROMOD Basin modeling software. Geochronology data reduction is accomplished using the Iolite add-on to the IgorPro software package. The workstations are equipped with standard desktop publication and software packages and are networked to a suite of printing facilities that include a 44” high-resolution HP Designjet Z3200 plotter, as well as high-resolution B&W and color laser printers.


CEMS includes two NSF-MRI-funded inductively coupled mass spectrometers: (1) a Thermo NEPTUNE double-focusing multi-collector ICP-MS, and (2) a Thermo ELEMENT2 single-collector high-resolution instrument (SC-ICPMS, with a fast scanning magnet option. The mass-spectrometry lab is also equipped with a 193 nm PhotonMachines ArF exciplex laser-ablation (LA) system that we have integrated with the ELEMENT2 mass-spectrometer for in situ single-grain geochronologic and geochemical analysis. Using this method, we routinely achieve ~1-3% (2σ) internal uncertainties on our primary and secondary natural zircon standards (SL, R33, FC1, 91500) and unknowns. Additional sample preparation and introduction equipment include a clean bench for sample loading and dilutions, auto-samplers with custom covers, an APEX - Q sample introduction system, and a variety of glass and teflon spray chambers and nebulizers for introduction of solution-based samples.