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Sedimentology Lab
Main Department of Geology and Planetary Science Website
Facilities and Field Equipment

The sedimentology and geochemical laboratories contain standard laboratory equipment for the routine analysis of lacustrine sediment cores including drying ovens, muffle furnaces, microscopes, centrifuges, water baths, and balances. The facility includes an automated magnetic susceptibility track and ME2EI sensor as well as a variety of loop sensors. Imaging equipment for core archival purposes is available and includes a full spectrum light box and camera for gray-scale and color change measurements. Facilities are also available for the extraction and isolation of sediment biogenic components including carbonate, diatoms, pollen, and biogenic silica. The facility includes two 200 square foot cold rooms for sediment core storage and an AMS radiocarbon preparation line dedicated for work on lacustrine samples.

The University of Pittsburgh's Regional Stable Isotope Laboratory for Earth and Environmental Science Research contains two isotope ratio mass spectrometers: (1) A GV Instruments (Micromass) IsoPrime mass spectrometer with universal triple collector and additional H/D assembly. The instrument is equipped with dual inlet and high throughput continuous flow modes. The system includes a Multi-Prep inlet module and Gilson autosampler for high precision determinations of carbonate d18O and d13C and water sample d18O and D/H ratios. (2) A GV Instruments IsoPrime Continuous Flow Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer with universal triple collector. Peripherals include a Gilson GX271 autosampler and a Trace Gas system for cryogenic trapping of low concentration atmospheric gases, such as N2O, CH4, and CO2. This system includes a EuroVector high temperature elemental analyzer for combustion or pyrolysis sample preparation and determination of elemental and isotopic ratios (C, H, N, and S) of sediments, soils, and biological materials. The EuroVector system includes a diluter kit for sequential carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis and a liquid autosampler for the analysis of H/D through chrome reduction techniques. Joseph Werne's new organic geochemistry laboratory contains LC/MS, GC/MS, GC-FID, and IRMS instrumentation, as well as all necessary equipment for the wet chemical extraction and preparation of molecular samples.

The Department also houses a Nexion, a Perkin-Elmer inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) for trace metal analyses. This instrument allows high throughput measurement of metal concentrations at the parts per billion/parts per trillion level. For 137Cs and 210Pb dating there are two Canberra BEGE counters (a BE3825 and a BE2020) allow for determination of gamma decaying species (e.g., 137-Cs and 210-Pb) in a wide range of materials, particularly core sediments. Mineral and rock preparation facilities also exist at the University of Pittsburgh. Mineral separation equipment (motorized sieves and magnetic separators) and ball mills, jaw crushers, and rocks saws are all readily accessible. Petrographic analysis facilities include thin section preparation equipment and several high quality petrographic microscopes. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy instrumentation is available at the University of Pittsburgh Material Science Department. This equipment includes a Philips X'Pert powder and Philips XL 30 field emission gun scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with an EDAX energy dispersive system.

Field Equipment
University of Pittsburgh field equipment includes an array of lake sediment coring devices (surface corers, square-rod piston corers, UWITEC and vibrational corers) as well as inflatable Zodiac-style boats and associated motors. A 9 mm UWITEC corer with a tripod system was purchased in 2010 that allows recovery of wide diameter piston cores from up to 150 m water depth. This proven system allows collection of long cores using repeated drives from the same core site. Triton Elics International Edge Tech seismic survey equipment is available for sub-bottom profiling. The system is complete with a suite of processing and georeferencing software. Water and sediment sampling equipment is also available for limnological analyses including Hydrolab Quanta-G and Mini-Sonde devices. Other field equipment includes multiple hand-held GPS instruments and linked depth finders, altimeters, and basic survey equipment.


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