Environmental Soil Analysis Laboratory (ESAL)


Mission Statement

ESAL is the only university soils laboratory in Nevada providing routine analyses of geologic materials, soils, plants, andpicture6water 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 samples are analyzed according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Survey Laboratory Methods Manual (Soil Survey Staff, 2004) and Soil Science Society of America 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.

Our Laboratory

picture9The 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. Our most significant expansion in analysis capacity recently is duo to the addition the Agilent 7700x ICP-MS and Labconco Filtered Balanced System, which enabled us to analyze almost every element. We can also deal with soil or rock samples containing asbestos.

 Equipment picture4

  • Agilent 7700X ICP-MS
  • Vario MAX CNS Elemental Analyzer
  • Dionex ICS 3000 Ion Cheromatography
  • Lambda 25 Spectrometer
  • Ethos D Microwave Digestion system
  • MS 2000 Laser Particle size analyzer
  • Model 24VE Programmable Vacuum Extractor
  • AS 200 Analytical Wet Sieving Set
  • Eppendorf 5810 Centrifuge
  • TP Tools Skat-Blast sieving cabinet
  • Labconco Filtered Balanced System

Our Team

• Brenda J. Buck, Ph.D.
Email: buckb@unlv.nevada.edu
Telephone: (702) 895-1694
Website: http://geoscience.unlv.edu/brendajbuck.htm

Lab Manager (Contact Person)
• Yuanxin Teng, Ph.D.
Email: tengy@unlv.nevada.edu
Telephone: Office (702) 895-3583/Lab (702) 774-1457
Fax: (702) 895-4064

   Website: http://geoscience.unlv.edu/ESAL/ESAL.html

Contact Information

Mailing Address
(Where to send samples):

Environmental Soil Analysis Laboratory
Science and Engineering Building (SEB)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
SEB 4120
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV  89154-4022

Test/Analyses and Fees

Test Code      Cost ($) Sample size  (g)
A: Soil Analyses
Soil Chemical Analyses
A0: Sample preparation  5
A1: pH, 1:1 water  5 100
A2: ECe, 1:2 aqueous extraction  8 100
A3: pH & EC (saturated paste)  12 250
A4: pH & ECe saturated paste extraction  20 5
A5: Available P (Olsen or Bray)  12 5
A6: Mehlich 3 extractable Al, As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr,

Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, P, Pb, Se, U and Zn



A7: Total digestion and determination for

Al, As, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn,

Na, Ni, P, Pb, Se and Zn



A8: Total digestion only  50
A9: NO3-N (KCl extract)  15 50
A10: NH4-N (KCl extract)  15 50
A11: NO3-N & NH4-N  25 50
A12: Available micronutrients (DTPA extractable)

Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn

 50 50
Organic C (organic matter)
A13: Walkley-Black  30 5
A14: Loss-on-ignition  15 20
A15: Combustion Total C+N+S  30 5
A16: Combustion Total C+N  25 5
Water Soluble saturated paste extraction 250
A17: K, Ca, Mg, Na, & SAR*  60
A18: CO3 + HCO3  15
A19: Cl, SO4, or NO3  20
A20: Cl+SO4, Cl+NO3, or SO4+NO3  35
A21: Cl+SO4+NO3  45
A22: All ions above plus B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Zn

or other 6 cations

A25: CaCO3 Equivalent  15 10
Cation Exchange & Exchangeable Cations (NH4OAc extractable)
A23: K, Ca, Mg, Na, & ESP**  60 50
A24: CEC***  60 50
*Sodium Adsorption Ratio; **Exchangeable Sodium Percentage; ***Cation Exchangeable Capacity
Soil Physical Analyses
A26a: Texture (hydrometer)  35 100
A26b: Texture (laser)  30 5
A26c: Texture (pipette)  90 100
A27:  Sand Sieving  15 20
A28:  Texture (laser) & Sand Sieving  40 120
A29:  Moisture Content  5 20
Soil Mineralogical Analyses
A31: Glass Counts  100 10
A32: Mineral counts

(add $25 for each additional  mineral)

 100 10


B: Plant Analyses
Plant Chemical Analyses
B0: Sample preparation  5
B1: NPK, Ca, Mg  50 1
B2: N,P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn, Na and S  70 1
B3: C & N  25 1
B4: C, N, and S  30 1
B5: Ash  15 5


C: Water Analyses
Water Chemical Analyses
C0: Sample Preparation  5
C1: pH  5 10 ml
C2: EC  5 10 ml
C3: NO3-N  12 10 ml
C4: NH4-N  12 10 ml
C5: NO3-N & NH4-N  20 10 ml
C6: P  10 10 ml
C7: Cl  20 10 ml
C8: K, Ca, Mg, Na  30 10 ml
C9: Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn  30 10 ml
C10: CO3 & HCO3  15 30 ml
C11: Total Suspended Solids  20 200 ml

Note: The prices are for analysis per sample with minimum of six (6) samples.