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Mission Statement
Our Laboratory
Our Team
Test/Analyses & Fees
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Contact Information

UNLV Chemical Hygiene Plan






Environmental Soil Analysis Laboratory

Dr. Brenda Buck

Dr. Debbie Soukup
Associate Director

Dr. Yuanxin Teng
Lab Manager

Mission Statement

ESAL is the only university soils laboratory in Nevada providing routine analyses of geologic materials, soils, plants, and water to the general public. ESAL’s mission is to maximize efficiency of laboratory resources by providing accurate, reliable, and prompt services to the research programs within UNLV, and to external public and private entities in Nevada and the region, at reasonable costs.

At ESAL, all soil samples are analyzed according to the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey Laboratory Methods Manual (Soil Survey Staff, 2004). Analysis of plants and water follows standard methods and procedures recommended by SSSA or regional authorities (reference sources vary with individual items). Analyses of geologic materials vary with user needs. All analyses are performed under rigid routine quality control procedures.

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Our Laboratory

The Environmental Soil Analysis Core Laboratory (ESAL) is part of the Department of Geoscience, University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). It is located in the new Science and Engineering Building (SEB), rooms 4118 to 4120. ESAL is capable of providing routine analyses of geologic materials, soils, plants, and water, including chemical, physical and mineralogical analysis of soils or other geological materials, and chemical analyses of plant and water samples.


  • Vario MAX CNS Elemental Analyzer (Elementar Inc.)
  • ICS 3000 Ion Cheromatography (Dionex)
  • Analyst 400 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (Perkin Elmer)
  • Lambda 25 Spectrometer (Perkin Elmer)
  • Ethos D Microwave Digestion system (Milestone)
  • MS 2000 Laser Particle size analyzer (Malvern)
  • Model 24VE Programmable Vacuum Extractor (MAVCO Industries)
  • AS 200 Analytical Wet Sieving Set (Retsch GMbH)
  • Eppendorf 5810 Centrifuge (Eppendorf)
  • Model TJ-6 Centrifuge (Beckman)
  • IEC HN-SII Centrifuge (Damon/IEC)
  • RX-86 Sieve Shaker

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Our Team


• Brenda J. Buck, Ph.D.

   Telephone: (702) 895-1694

Associate Director

• Debbie Soukup,
   Specializing in soil chemistry

Lab Manager

• Yuanxin Teng, Ph.D.

   Dr. Teng was previously Forest Soils Laboratory manager at University of    Toronto for fifteen years before moving to UNLV.
   Office Telephone: (702) 895-3583
   Lab Telephone: (702) 774-1457

Research Professor

• Dirk Goossens,
   Researches soil erosion, air pollution, and dust dynamics

Post Doc

• Colin Robins, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor: Macalester College
  Investigation of Soil-Geomorphologic Controls on Sensitive Las Vegas   Buckwheat Habitats in Clark County, NV

Laboratory Technician

Erik Baker, B.S.
ESAL Laboratory Technician

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Dana Olsen
  ESAL Research Assistant
Praveen Raj
  ESAL Research Assistant

Previous Students

• Amanda (Mandy) Williams, Ph.D.
  Dissertation: Co-Development of Biological Soil Crusts, Soil-   Geomorphology, and Landscape Biogeochemistry in the Mojave Desert,   Nevada, U.S.A. – Implications for Ecological Management
• Michelle Stropky, M.S. Candidate

Research Assistant for ESAL: Chemical Analyses of Dust for Human   Health, Nellis Dunes, NV, USA
• Colin Robins
, Ph.D.
  Dissertation: Phyllosilicate Mineralogy, 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology, and   Genesis of Petrocalcic Soils in the Southwest U.S.A. 
• Michael Howell
, M.S.
  Thesis: Genesis and Geomorphology of Soils in Extreme Aridity: Atacama   Desert, Chile
• Mengesha Beyene, Ph.D.
  Research Assistant: Controls on Biological Crust Distribution in Mojave   Desert & Controls on Air Quality from Dust Emissions 
• Judy Costa, B.S.
  Research Assistant: SEM analyses of Cyanobacteria in Extreme   Environments: Implications for Life on Mars
Jonathan Carter, B.S.
  Research Assistant: Nellis Dunes: Affects of Soil Distribution on Air Quality
Rhonda Fairchild, B.S.
  Research Assistant: Testing the Effects of Soil Characteristics on Dust   Emissions, Nellis Dunes, Nevada
Robert Davis, B.S.
  Laboratory Technician  
  Research Assistant: Dust Emissions from Off-road Usage, Las Vegas,   Nevada
Mark Reed, B.S.
  Research Assistant: Measuring Surface Roughness for Wind Models
Seth Pages, B.S.
  Research Assistant: Micromorphology of Soil Biological Crusts
Jonathon Egelin, High school student
  Research Assistant: Testing Field Proxies for Soil Cyanobacterial Crusts

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Tests/Analyses and Fees

Test Code Cost ($)

Sample size (g)

A: Soil Analyses

Soil Chemical Analyses    
A0: Sample preparation


A1: pH 3.50


A2: ECe 3.50


A3: pH & ECe (saturated paste) 10.00


A4: Available P (Olsen or Bray) 8.00 5
A5: Available K 8.00 5
A6: Available P + K 15.00 5
A7: NO3-N (KCl extract) 10.00 10
A8: NH4-N (KCl extract) 10.00 10
A9: NO3-N & NH4-N 17.00       10
A10: SO4 (saturated paste)            12.50 10

A11: Available micro nutrients (DTPA extractable) Cu, Fe, Mn & Zn

30.00 10
A12: Available B 15.00 15

Organic C (organic matter)

A13: Walkley-Black 25.00 5
A14: Loss-on-ignition 11.50 20
A15: Combustion (C+N+S) 20.00 5
A16: Total C+N 15.00 5
Water Soluble (saturated paste)   250
A17: K, Ca, Mg, Na, & SAR  40.00  
A18: CO3 + HCO3 12.50  
A19: Cl, SO4, or NO3 12.50  
A20: Cl+SO4, Cl+NO3, or SO4+NO3 20.00  
A21: Cl+SO4+NO3 from SO4 25.00  
A22: All ions above plus B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn 60.00  
A25: CaCO3 Equivalent 12.00 10

Cation Exchange & Exchangeable Cations (NH4OAc extractable)

A23: K, Ca, Mg, Na, & ESP** 40.00 50
A24: CEC***        40.00 50

*Sodium Adsorption Ratio;
Exchangeable Sodium Percentage; ***Cation Exchangeable Capacity


Soil Physical Analyses

A26a: Texture (hydrometer) 30.00 100
A26b: Texture (laser) 26.00 5
A26c: Texture (pipette) 80.00 100
A27:  Sand Sieving              12.00 20
A28:  Texture & Sand Sieving 28.00 120
A29:  Moisture Content 3.50 20
Soil Mineralogical Analyses    
A31: Glass Counts 75.00 10
A32: Mineral counts (add $25 for each additional mineral) 75.00 10

B: Plant Analyses


Plant Chemical Analyses

B0: Sample preparation 3.50  
B1: Pack 1 (NPK, Ca, Mg) 20.00 1

B2: Pack 2 (Pack 1 & Cu, Fe,Mn, Zn, Na, S)                               

35.00 1
B3: C & N 12.00 1
B4: C, N, and S 20.00 1
B5: Ash 10.00 5

C: Water Analyses


Water Chemical Analyses

C0: Sample Preparation 5.00  
C1: pH 3.00 10 ml
C2: EC 3.00 10 ml
C3: NO3-N 10.00 10 ml
C4: NH4-N 10.00 10 ml
C5: NO3-N & NH4-N 15.00 10 ml
C6: P 7.00 10 ml
C7: Cl 10.00 10 ml
C8: K, Ca, Mg, Na 15.00 10 ml
C9: Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn 15.00 10 ml
C10: CO3 & HCO3 15.00 30 ml
C11: Total Suspended Solids 15.00 200 ml

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Credit Card Authorization Form

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Contact Information

Mailing Address
(Where to send samples):

Environmental Soil Analysis Laboratory
Science and Engineering Building
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV  89154-4022

Contact Person:

Dr. Yuanxin Teng
Office Tel: (702) 895-3583
Lab Tel: (702) 774-1457
Fax: (702) 895-4064

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Main Office: Lilly Fong Geoscience (LFG) 104B
Phone: 702-895-3262; Fax: 702-895-4064

Department of Geoscience
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-4010