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Geology Department Facilities

The cutting-edge work done by our students and faculty is possible due to our access to state-of-the-art facilities for both classroom instruction and scientific research.
Geology Department Facilities

Geology Museum

Robert M. Linsley Geology Museum

The Robert M. Linsley Geology Museum is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Evening hours are periodically scheduled to accommodate Ho Tung Vis Lab Show visitors. Special weekend hours are also occasionally posted for campus events such as graduation and Reunion.

Analytical Instrumentation

Atomic absorption spectrophotometer
Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 200 Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer

Student using the atomic absorption spectrophotometer schematicWhat it does
Atomic absorption spectrophotometry provides accurate quantitative analyses for metals in water, sediments, soils or rocks. (Samples are analyzed in solution form, so solid samples must be leached or dissolved prior to analysis.)

Instrument statistics
Our system combines a double-beam Echelle optical system with a solid state detector. Both acetylene and nitrous oxide fuel mixtures can be used to allow for the analysis of a wide range of elements. Cordless LuminaTM lamps provide the element specific light. The system is run by WinLab 32TM operating software with touch-screen controls.

Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer Schematic How it works
As shown in the schematic to the right, atomic absorption units have four basic parts: interchangeable lamps that emit light with element-specific wavelengths, a sample aspirator, a flame or furnace apparatus for volatilizing the sample, and a photon detector. In order to analyze for any given element, a lamp is chosen that produces a wavelength of light that is absorbed by that element.

Sample solutions are aspirated into the flame. If any ions of the given element are present in the flame, they will absorb light produced by the lamp before it reaches the detector. The amount of light absorbed depends on the amount of the element present in the sample. Absorbance values for unknown samples are compared to calibration curves prepared by running known samples.

Related research
This lab has been used extensively to collect data for a wide variety of research. Some of the major projects include:
  • CZEN - Study on soil development and chemical weathering (project website)
  • NSF/CRUI - Study on acid deposition and calcium depletion in Adirondack soils
Fluid inclusion microthermometric system
Fluid Inc. USGS-design Fluid Inclusion Microthermometric System

Fluid Inclusion Microthermometric SystemWhat it does
Fluid inclusion microthermometry is used to determine the crystallization temperatures of the minerals that contain them, and the salinity of fluids that were present in the formational setting during the time of crystallization.

Instrument statistics
The Fluid Inc. fluid inclusion system uses a USGS-designed gas-heated and gas-cooled insulated stage. Observations for fluid inclusion work are performed using a Leica LaborluxS microscope and Hitachi HVD25 digital imaging system.

How it works
Small, mm-scale chips of crystalline minerals are mounted between thin glass plates in an area of the stage that contains a sensitive thermocouple and is surrounded by insulating material. Fluid inclusions, which are tiny bits of fluid trapped during crystal growth, are observed through the glass plates in the stage using a high-powered microscope. Samples are chilled or heated by passing heated or chilled gas, usually nitrogen, over them.

Crystals that grow in fluid-rich environments often trap a bit of the surrounding fluid in small inclusions within the grain. As the mineral cools, the liquid in the inclusion shrinks in volume and a vapor bubble appears. By heating the sample on a fluid inclusion stage until the bubble is reabsorbed, the "homogenization temperature" of the fluid inclusion is found.

This temperature represents the minimum temperature at which the inclusion was trapped and therefore can be used to estimate the minimum temperature of mineral crystallization.

Freezing and melting temperatures can be determined by chilling fluid inclusions. Because the freezing and melting temperatures of the fluid are controlled by its salt content, the composition of fluids in the inclusion that were involved in crystal growth can be constrained.
Gas chromatography - mass spectrometer
Side view of the gas chromatography mass spectrometerFinnigan TraceMS and TraceGC

What it does
By combining gas chromatography with mass spectrometry this instrument has the ability to reliably identify even trace amounts of chemicals that compose a substance.

How it works
A gas chromatograph uses a capillary column to separate a sample into its constituent compounds based on their retention time within the column. Each molecule's characteristic mass and shape control its speed within the chromatograph. As a sample moves through the column, some of the constituent molecules lag behind others and therefore, each molecule exits at a different time. Upon exiting, each molecule enters a mass spectrometer, which ionizes it and uses the charge to mass ratio of each ion to determine its identity.Gas chromatography mass spectrometer workstation

Whereas two different substances may have similar retention times or charge to mass ratios and therefore might be hard to distinguish using only one of these methods, it is unlikely that the two molecules would behave the same through both analyses. Because the GC mass spectrometer combines both techniques it greatly reduces the possibility of error in analyte identification.

Instrument statistics
Download a PDF of Finnigan's Trace MS Hardware Manual.
Inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometer
Varian/Bruker 820-MS and Agilent HP4500

Student adjusting the Varian ICP-MSWhat they do
Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometers measure the concentrations of trace and major elements in liquid or solid samples. The Varian 820-MS ICP-MS is set up to process data from solutions using the Cetac ASX-520 autosampler or solids using the New Wave UP 213nm laser ablation system. This laser ablation system allows us to get pinpoint, in situ data from solid samples like rocks, glass, and crystals. Both the Varian and Argilent instruments housed in this lab are quadrupole ICP-MS systems, so we can measure the majority of the periodic student using laser ablation system table in just seconds.

Instrument statistics
Malvern mastersizer grain size analyzer
Malvern Mastersizer 2000 Laser Diffraction Grain Size Analyzer

Malvern mastersizer grain size analyzerWhat it does
The Malvern Laser Diffraction system uses pulses of red and blue laser light sent through an emulsion of sediment and water to measure the grain size distribution of the particles.

Instrument statistics
Review the Malvern Mastersizer 2000 website. The schematic below was taken from that site. Click on the image for a larger version of it.

How it works
Mastersizer schematic drawingSediment samples are prepared for analysis on the Malvern Mastersizer by separating grains greater than 1 mm using a #18 sieve. The larger size fraction is analyzed separately using a standard set of sieves. Before and after this separation, the sample is weighed and the weights of the size fractions are recorded. The less than 1 mm fraction is then prepared for Mastersizer analysis by mixing it with distilled water and a Calgon solution that minimizes grain clumping, or flocculation. This water-sediment emulsion is added to a circulating water flow in an attached Hydro S sample dispersion unit that sends the emulsion through a glass-walled chamber in the Mastersizer.

The Mastersizer operates by sending laser pulses through the emulsion as it flows through the glass-walled chamber. The pulses are diffracted by the sediment grains in the emulsion and then are detected by a series of photovoltaic sensors that are arrayed at varying distances from the window.

schematic of beam diffraction - image from www.malvern.com Larger particles diffract light at greater angles and therefore, the light from these is detected by sensors closer to the window. Smaller particles diffract light at lower angles so these pulses are detected by more distant sensors. Counts from the sensors are tallied, averaged and reported as a grain-size distribution. Grains from 1 mm to 0.001 mm in diameter can be detected. Analyses are repeatable to ±0.5%, and a sample can be analyzed in 5-10 minutes, versus many hours or days using older techniques.
Scanning electron microscope
JEOL JSM636OLV Scanning Electron Microscope with Oxford X-max Silicon Drift X-ray Detector, Nordlys EBSD Detector, and Gatan Cathode Luminescence Detector

Purchased with grants from the National Science Foundation

Student using SEM & EDS systemWhat it does
This instrument is used for detailed, high-magnification, 3-D imaging and qualitative and semi-quantitative chemical analysis of solids

How it works
A beam of high energy electrons is produced in the electron gun at the top of the column by applying high voltage to a tungsten filament and nearby anode. This beam is accelerated down past the anode into the column where it is condensed and aligned by a series of electromagnetic lenses and coils within the column. This focused beam continuously rasters back and forth across the sample. Interactions between the electron beam and the sample result in different types of emissions that are measured by a series of detectors located within the sample chamber. The types of emissions that are measured are: secondary electrons, backscattered electrons, x-rays, and cathode luminescence. X-ray data is sent to the x-ray system where it is translated into elemental plots. The other three detectors are connected to a 'TV' screen where the signal produces a clear, black and white (green actually) image of the sample. Secondary electron imaging provides good 3-dimensional topographic views of the sample. Backscattered electron images show less defined topography but clearly display differences in elemental compositions because higher atomic number elements appear brighter. Cathode luminescence imaging highlights chemical variations within individual grains due to trace element variations and zoning.
schematic of the SEM and its detectors
Instrument statistics
Our EDS system is run by Spirit software. The detector has a beryllium window. Quantitative analyses are performed at 20 kV using a 25mm working distance, 35% dead time, and are collected for 200 seconds of live time.

Publications from work done at Colgate's SEM lab
* indicates collaborative research with students

Brown, LL,  McEnroe, SA, Peck, WH, Peterson, LP, 2011, Anorthosites as Sources of Magnetic Anomalies, in Earth’s Magnetic Interior (E Petrovský, D Ivers, T Harinarayana, and E Herrero-Bervera, Eds.), Springer-Verlag, p. 321-342.

Wong, MS, Peck, WH, Selleck, BW, *Catalano, JP, *Hochman, SD, and *Maurer, JT, 2011, The Black Lake Shear Zone: A boundary between terranes in the Adirondack Lowlands, Grenville Province: Precambrian Research, v. 188, p. 57-72.

Peck, WH, McLelland, JM, Bickford, ME, Nagle, AN*, Swarr, GJ*, 2010, Mechanism of zircon overgrowth formation of a granulite-facies quartzite, Adirondack Highlands, Grenville Province, New York: American Mineralogist, v. 95, p. 1796-1806.

Segall, K, Dioguardi, AP, Fernandes, N, Mazo, JJ (2009) Experimental Observation of Fluxon Diffusion in Josephson Rings, Journal of Low Temperature Physics, v. 154, 41-54.

Cavosie AJ, Kita NT and Valley JW (2009). Magmatic zircons from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: Primitive oxygen isotope signature. American Mineralogist, 94(7): 926-934.

King, EM, Trzaskus, AP, and Valley, JW (2008) Oxygen isotope evidence for magmatic variability and multiple alteration events in the Proterozoic St. Francois Mountains, Missouri, Precambrian Research, Volume 165, Pages 49-60.

Bickford, M.E., McLelland, J.M., Selleck, B.W., Hill, Barbara M., and Heumann, M.J.(2008) Timing of anatexis in the eastern Adirondack Highlands: Implications for tectonic evolution during ca. 1050 Ma Ottawan orogenesis; Geol. Soc. America Bulletin, v. 120.

Carr, P., Selleck, B., Stott, M., Williamson, P. (2008) Native lead at Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia; Canadian Mineralogist, v. 46.

Kelly JL, Fu B, Kita NT and Valley JW (2007). Optically continuous silcrete quartz cements of the St. Peter Sandstone: High precision oxygen isotope analysis by ion microprobe. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 71(15): 3812-3832.

Matthew J. Heumann, Marion Bickford, Barbara M. Hill, James McLelland, Bruce Selleck and M. J. Jercinovic (2006) Timing of anatexis in metapelites from the Adirondack lowlands and southern highlands: A manifestation of the Shawinigan orogeny and subsequent anorthosite-mangerite-charnockite-granite magmatism; Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 118, no. 8.

Selleck, B., McLelland, J.M. and Bickford, M.E. (2005) Granite emplacement during tectonic exhumation: The Adirondack example; Geology, v. 33, p. 781-784.

Peck, WH, DeAngelis, MT, Meredith, MT*, Morin, E (2005) Polymetamorphism of marbles in the Morin terrane (Grenville Province, Quebec): Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 42,
p. 1949-1965.
Stable isotope mass spectrometry
Delta Plus Advantage Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometer and Costech Elemental Analyzer

Funded by grant EAR-0216179 from the National Science Foundation

Stable Isotope Mass SpectrometerWhat it does
Measures isotope ratios of C, O, and N from geological and biological samples.

How it works
Oxygen, Carbon, or Nitrogen must be separated from samples by some chemical method (such as combustion, dissolution in acids, or fusing with a laser in the presence of an oxidizer). Gasses are then purified in a vacuum line (glass trellis-work in picture) or within the elemental analyzer. The purified gasses are then introduced into the mass spectrometer, either by using the dual-inlet system or continuous flow mode, where they are bombarded by electrons and ionized. The ions travel down a flight tube and are separated according to mass by an electromagnet. The ions are then detected in Faraday cups at the end of the flight tube. The isotope ratio is calculated from the charge of the ions at the end of the flight tube. See Finnigan's brochure for instrument and analytical statistics.

Stable Isotope Mass SpectrometerAlthough the differences in mass between the isotopes of the light gasses are small (~11% between 16O and 18O), the isotope ratio is very sensitive to geological processes. Stable isotopes are commonly used in studies to determine paleoclimate, water-rock interaction, and metamorphic temperatures in rocks, and trophic level and paleodiet in fossils.

Research projects
The lab is used for class projects in Geology and other departments (e.g., ENST 100 Earth and Environmental Processes, FSEM 124 Forensic Geology, GEOL 310 Economic Geology, GEOL 415 Marine Geology, GEOL 411 Isotope Geology, BIOL 476 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Ecology). Class projects have investigated plant physiology, lake sediments near Hamilton, the origin of Pb-Zn ore deposits, and adulteration of maple syrup. Many students have used the lab for independent study projects and senior theses, and several of these projects have been presented at regional and national meetings.

Stable Isotope Mass SpectrometerPapers from the isotope lab
* indicates collaborative research with students

Peck, WH, and *Tubman, SC, 2010, Changing carbon isotope ratio of atmospheric carbon dioxide: Implications for food authentication, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, v. 58(4), p. 2364–2367

Peck, WH, Volkert, RA, *Mansur, A, *Doverspike, BA, 2009, Stable isotope and petrologic evidence for the origin of regional marble-hosted magnetite deposits and the zinc deposits at Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey Highlands: Economic Geology, v. 104, p. 1037-1054.

Peck, WH, and *Tumpane, KP, 2007, Low carbon isotope ratios in apatite: An unreliable biomarker in igneous and metamorphic rocks. Chemical Geology, v. 245, p. 305-314.

Peck, WH, Volkert, RA, *Meredith, MT, and *Rader, EL, 2006, Calcite-graphite carbon isotope thermometry of the Franklin Marble, New Jersey Highlands: Journal of Geology, v. 114, p. 485-499.

Peck, WH, *DeAngelis, MT, *Meredith, MT, *Morin, E, 2005, Polymetamorphism of marbles in the Morin terrane (Grenville Province, Quebec): Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 42, p. 1949-1965.

Abstracts from the isotope lab
* indicates collaborative research with students 

*Montanye, BR and Peck, WH, 2012, Carbon isotope thermometry in the Central Metasedimentary Belt Boundary Thrust Zone, Grenville Province, Ontario, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 44(2), p. 115.

*Rathkopf, CA, Peck, WH, 2010, Stable isotope geochemistry of marble-hosted Zn deposits, Central Metasedimentary Belt, Grenville Province, Ontario: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 42(1), p. 110.

*Halfhide, TM, Peck, WH, 2010, Calcite-graphite thermometry of marbles in the Sharbot Lake domain (Grenville Province, Ontario): Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 42(1), p. 160.

*Tortorello, RD, Peck, WH, 2010, Calcite-graphite thermometry of marbles in the Frontenac terrane (Grenville Province, Ontario): Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 42(1), p. 160.

April, RH, *Coplin, AL, 2008, The isotopic composition of organic carbon in Adirondack Spodosols, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 72, Issue 12, p. A30.

*Eppich, GR, and Peck, WH, 2006, Stable isotope geochemistry of the Kilmar magnesite deposits, Grenville Province, Quebec: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v.38, n. 2, p. 26.

Goldstein, AG, Peck, WH, and Selleck, BW, *King, M, *Coliacomo, E, Kita, NT, Valley, JW, 2006, High-resolution stable isotope thermometry of Taconic strain fringes: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38, n. 7, p. 18.

*Kinsman, N, Goldstein, A, Peck, W, and Selleck, B, 2006, Stable isotopes of strain fringes in Aptian slates near Lourdes, France: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v.38, n. 2, p. 26.

*King, M, *Coliacomo, E, Goldstein, A, Peck, W, and Selleck, B, 2006, Stable isotopes in strain fringes from the Taconic Mountains, Vermont: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v.38, n. 2, p. 26.

*Meredith, MT, *Doverspike, BA, Peck, WH, 2003, Stable isotope geochemistry of the Franklin Marble (Grenville Province, New Jersey), Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v.35, n. 3, p. 96.

*Nowak, R, (rnowak09@wooster.edu) Peck, WH, Pollock, M, 2009, Protolith determination of the Hyde School garnet-sillimanite marginal gneisses, Adirondack Lowlands, NY: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 41(4), p. 52.

Peck, WH, *DeAngelis, MT, *Meredith, MT, *Morin, E, 2004, Metamorphism of marbles in the Morin terrane (Grenville Province, Quebec), Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v.36, n. 5, p. 460.

Peck, WH, and *Tumpane, KP, 2006, Low carbon isotope ratios in high-temperature apatite: Implications for use as a biomarker: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 38, n. 7, p. 46.

Peck, WH, Volkert, RA, *Mansur, AT, Doverspike, BA, 2008, Stable isotope constraints on the origin of Mesoproterozoic marble-hosted zinc and iron deposits, New Jersey Highlands: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 40(2), p. 61.

Peck, WH, Volkert, RA, *Mansur, AT, *Eppich, GR, 2008, A Stable Isotope Perspective on Sedimentation, Ore Genesis, and Metamorphism in the Southern Grenville Province: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 40(6), p. 234.

Selleck, BW, Peck, WH, McLelland, JM, *Bergman, M, *Ellis, A, *Conti, C, 2008, Late Ottawan (ca. 1035 Ma) hydrothermal signatures in the southeastern Adirondack Lowlands: New geochronological, stable isotope and fluid inclusion results: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 40(2), p. 61.

*Tubman, SC, Peck, WH, 2008 Carbon isotopes of maple syrup: A record of atmospheric and environmental change: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 40(2), p. 18.

*Tumpane, KP, and Peck, WH, 2006, Large carbon isotope fractionations in apatite: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v.38, n. 2, p. 26.
X-ray diffractometer
Philips PW3040 X-ray Diffractometer with Super Q Software

Purchased with a grant from the National Science Foundation

X-ray DiffractometerWhat it does
X-ray diffraction is used to determine the identity of crystalline solids based on their atomic structure.

Instrument statistics
Our system uses Cu Kα radiation that has a wavelength of 1.54Å. Analyses are commonly run using a 40kV 45mA x-ray tube voltage, a 0.04° soller slit, 1° divergence and antiscatter slits, and a 1/2° (for powder) or 1/4° (for clays) receiving slit.

How it works
During x-ray diffraction analysis, x-ray beams are reflected off the parallel atomic layers within a mineral over a range of diffraction angles. Because the x-ray beam has a specific wavelength, for any given 'd-spacing' (distance between adjacent atomic planes) there are only specific angles at which the exiting rays will be 'in phase' and therefore, will be picked up by the detector producing a peak on the 'diffractogram'. Just like a 'fingerprint', every mineral has its own distinct set of diffraction peaks that can be used to identify it.

Related research
This system has been used extensively to collect data for a wide variety of research. Some of the major projects include:
  • CZEN -- Critical Zone research on soil development and chemical weathering (project website)
  • NSF/CRUI -- Study on acid deposition and calcium depletion in Adirondack soils
  • ILWAS -- Integrated Lake Watershed Acidification Study: a study of the effects of acid deposition on three Adirondack lakes
  • RILWAS -- Regional Integrated Lake Watershed Acidification Study: a study of the effects of acid deposition on lakes in the Adirondacks and various other locations across the United States, Canada, and Europe
  • ALBIOS - Aluminum Biogeochemistry Study: a study of the effects of aluminum on forested ecosystems
  • IFS - Integrated Forest Study - an international effort to study the effects of acid deposition on forest ecosystems throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe
  • DOE study of the distribution of Cesium-137 in lake-bottom sediments
X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
Philips PW2404 X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer with Super Q Software

Purchased with a grant from the National Science Foundation

X-ray Fluorescence SpectrometerWhat it does
X-ray fluorescence provides accurate quantitative data on the chemical composition of geologic samples.

Instrument and Analytical Statistics
Samples for major element analysis are powdered and mixed with lithium tetraborate flux in a 9:1 flux:sample ratio, then melted to produce a glass disc using a Claisse Fluxy Fluxer. For trace element analysis, powered samples are mixed in approximately a 5:1 sample:flux ratio with Copolywax flux, then formed into a pressed pellet using an hydraulic press. Major element calibration curves are based on a set of 40 standards. A set of 30 standards is used for trace element analyses.

How it works
Each chemical element is composed of a nucleus along with a specific number of orbiting electrons. During x-ray fluorescence analysis, high energy x-ray photons produced in the x-ray tube bombarb the sample causing the ejection of electrons from their orbitals. Fluorescence occurs when energy is given off as outer shell electrons drop down to replace inner shell electrons that have been ejected. The amount of energy lost as a result of each such electron transition, along with its related wavelength, are specific to each particular element.

X-ray Fluorescence SpectrometerWithin the x-ray spectrometer, a crystal with a known lattice spacing is used as a diffraction grating that allows through only one x-ray wavelength at any given diffraction angle. Because the x-ray wavelengths produced by fluorescence are unique to each element, this diffraction restricts all energy except for that of the element of interest from reaching the detector. Therefore, any signal that is picked up by the detector can be attributed to the element of interest. The more there is of that element in a sample, the more electron transitions that can occur, and the more signal that will be produced. The amount of signal that is received is compared to calibration curves, which are plots of the amount of energy received vs. weight percent for standards with known compositions.

Related research
This system has been used extensively to collect data for a wide variety research. Some of the major projects include:
  • CZEN -- Critical Zone research on soil development and chemical weathering (project website)
  • NSF/CRUI -- Study on acid deposition and calcium depletion in Adirondack soils
  • ILWAS -- Integrated Lake Watershed Acidification Study: a study of the effects of acid deposition on three Adirondack lakes
  • RILWAS -- Regional Integrated Lake Watershed Acidification Study: a study of the effects of acid deposition on lakes in the Adirondacks and various other locations across the United States, Canada, and Europe
  • ALBIOS -- Aluminum Biogeochemstry Study: a study of the effects of aluminum on forested ecosystems
  • IFS -- Integrated Forest Study: an international effort to study the effects of acid deposition on forest ecosystems throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe
X-star sub-bottom profiler
X-star Sub-bottom High-resolution Seismic-reflection (sonic) Profiler with 2-12 kHz Edgetech Towfish

Co-owned with the Hobart William Smith Geosciences Department and purchased with a grant from the National Science Foundation.

X-star sub-bottom profilerAnalyses
Sub-bottom profiling produces printouts of sonar records collected along cruise-track survey lines that provide an 'image' of the underlying stratigraphy of marine and lake bottom sediments. Our system is able to penetrate the subsurface to depths of 30 meters with a resolution of 10-100 cm.

Related research
This system has been used to collect data for the following research:
  • Eastern Lake Ontario, NY state: study of bottom and coastal sediment distribution and dynamics
  • Lagoon of Venice, Italy: study of the evolution of tidal channel migration within this subsiding basin
  • New South Wales, Australia: study of estuarine sediments and the history of tidal "lakes"
EG&G side-scan sonar
EG & G 500 and 1000 kHz Side-scan Sonar

Co-owned with the Hobart William Smith Geosciences Department and purchased with a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Yellow sidescan sonarAnalyses
Like sub-bottom profiling, side-scan sonar records sonic reflections along cruise-track survey lines that provide an 'image' of the underlying stratigraphy of marine and lake bottom sediments. The EG & G system is able to image a 50 to 200 meter survey swath width with 1 to 10 meter resolution.

Related research
This system has been used to collect data for the following research:
  • Eastern Lake Ontario, NY state: study of bottom and coastal sediment distribution and dynamics
  • Lagoon of Venice, Italy: study of the evolution of tidal channel migration within this subsiding basin
  • New South Wales, Australia: study of estuarine sediments and the history of tidal "lakes"

Sample Preparation and Analytical Labs


Geochemistry lab
Student working in the geochemistry laboratoryThe "geochem lab" accommodates a variety of soil, sediment, rock, and water sample preparations and analyses. It is fully equipped with centrifuges, balances, spectrometers, pH meters, titration apparatus, hoods, sieves, settling tubes, desiccators, field equipment, sonifiers, a convection oven, muffle furnace, waterbath, shaker table and nutator, as well as all the necessary labware. The geochem lab is used for student and faculty research throughout the summer and academic year.

Related research
Student seated and working in the geochemistry labThis lab has been used extensively to collect data for a wide variety of research projects including:
  • CZEN - Critical Zone research on soil development & chemical weathering (project website)
  • NSF/CRUI - Study on Acid Deposition and Calcium Depletion in Adirondack Soils
  • DOE study of the distribution of Cesium-137 in lake bottom sediments
  • IFS - Integrated Forest Study - an international effort to study the effects of acid deposition on forest ecosystems throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe
  • ALBIOS - Aluminum Biogeochemistry Study - a study of the effects of aluminum on forested ecosystems
  • RILWAS - Regional Integrated Lake Watershed Acidification Study - a study of the effects of acid deposition on lakes in the Adirondacks and various other locations across the United States, Canada, and Europe
  • ILWAS - Integrated Lake Watershed Acidification Study - a study of the effects of acid deposition on three Adirondack lakes
Geology research lab
student working with fluid inclusion equipment In addition to basic sample preparation, the Geology Research Lab is specially equipped for performing grain size and fluid inclusion analyses. Specialized instrumentation housed in this lab includes a Malvern Mastersizer 2000 Laser Diffraction Grain Size Analyzer, and a Fluid Inc. USGS-design Fluid Inclusion Microthermometric System. Observations for fluid inclusion work are performed using a Leica LaborluxS microscope and Hitachi HVD25 digital imaging system.
student working with Malvern Mastersizer
Research and publications
The clean lab
Student with protective gear working in the clean labThe clean lab is part of a two-room suite designed to minimize the potential for even trace amounts of contamination to samples that are being prepared for analysis in the adjacent ICP-MS lab. HEPA filters in the ceiling vents provide purified air to the facility. Air pressure within the rooms is set at a high positive pressure while the vestibule entry to the lab suite is set at a negative pressure, causing any incoming dust to be blown out as someone enters the lab. All gas tanks used for ICP-MS analysis are contained in a separate, external gas closet in order to eliminate the possibility of any contaminants being carried in on gas tanks or transport carts. Ultrapure water is provided by a Millipore Milli-Q Integral water purification system. This lab is also outfitted with two HEPA filter hoods and one perchloric hood used for dissolving rocks and preparing solutions for ICP analysis.
The "Rock Room"
Mike with the small rock crusher The "rock room" is actually a set of sample preparation rooms where field samples are processed, and thin sections, glass discs and pressed pellets are made. The 'dirty' rooms contain an extensive collection of sieves, rock crushers, diamond-tipped slab and rock saws, a series of grinding wheels, grit plates, polishing wheels, Vibromet vibrating polishers; along with a MicroTrim seven-sample and MicroTec Mark II single-sample thin section machines, a shatterbox assembly, hydraulic rock corer and an hydraulic splitting maul. The 'clean' room in this facility houses a three-sample Claisse Fluxy fluxer becca and the large rock saw for preparation of glass discs, a Carver 12-ton hydraulic press for production of pressed pellets, and muffle furnaces. These rooms are very actively used by both students and faculty for a wide variety of research projects.

sarah & the fluxy fluxer thin section room
Micropaleontological and microscopy labs
Sun coming in the windows of the micropaleontological labThe micropaleontological laboratory at Colgate University is fully equipped to prepare quantitative diatom slides using the standard random settling method and to measure biogenic silica by spectrophotometric analysis. Microscopes in this lab and the nearby microscopy lab include: an Olympus Research Stereozoom Model SZX12 with PMC350X photography system, and Olympus BX50 and Olympus BX60 infinity corrected microscopes, both with BX-FLA reflected light fluorescence attachments for epi-fluorescence microscopy. The BX60 is attached to a Hitachi Digital Camera with Flashpoint digital imaging software. In addition, four research quality Nikon E400 epi-fluorescence microscopes are available at Colgate University (via an NSF/RUI award); all equipped with SPOT color CCD cameras and image acquisition software from Diagnostic Imaging.
Structural geology research lab
Student working in the structural geology labThe structural geology lab is a fully functional mineral separates facility that is used to separate minerals for a wide variety of geochronologic and thermochronologic analyses. The lab is equipped with a Frantz LB-1 magnetic barrier separator, a heavy liquids separation facility, a petrographic microscope with digital camera and a picking microscope. Some examples of the application of the lab include separation of zircon for U-Pb geochronology, separation of hornblende, mica and K-feldspar for 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and thermochronology, and the separation of apatite for low temperature (U-Th)/He thermochronologic analyses.

Other Facilities

Classrooms
Eine kleine NachtmusikThe Geology Department is located in the Ho Interdisciplinary Science Center, which also houses part of the Biology Department, along with Environmental Science, Geography, and Physics & Astronomy. The Ho Center is one of four buildings that constitute a "science quad" on Colgate's upper campus. Collaboration among the sciences is promoted in the Ho Center by interspersing labs and offices from different disciplines and with shared teaching spaces; however, several lab/classrooms stocked with course-related equipment and samples are specifically dedicated to geology. Students taking classes in these rooms typically are granted card access for after-hours studying (or occasional flute practice complete with molecular model music stand).

Ho 350 - Mineralogy & petrology classroom Ho 344 - Paleontology classroom
Computer Lab
Professor Bruce Selleck in the geology computer lab with studentsGeology's computer lab houses 17 networked Window's 7 Enterprise workstations. These computers run a standard suite of Microsoft software, along with GIS, and other specialty programs. In addition to computers, the facility also accommodates a document scanner, slide & thin section scanner, black & white HP Laserjet 2420 printer, color Xerox Phaser 8530 printer, and HP Designjet 4020 large format printer. The lab is set up to be used for teaching computer-based class exercises but also is very actively used by geology students for research, homework and checking e-mail.
Student study space
The table and computer stations available in the geology student loungeColgate geology students frequently can be found working, checking e-mail and/or socializing in room 420 Ho. There are several computer stations (both PC and Mac), along with an HP Laserjet printer. The room is also equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave, toaster oven, coffeemaker, campus courtesy phone, sofa, a few lounge chairs, and a large worktable.

geology majors gathering in the geo-student lounge