List of Geoscience Facilities

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The Department of Geoscience, UNLV, with 24 faculty, and 3 staff including 2 student workers offers undergraduate and graduate degrees (both MS and Ph.D.) and specializes in a variety of geoscience fields. Most faculty research is funded by grants from NSF, NASA, and DOE and other state and local sources. The equipment available for use within the Department of Geoscience at the University of Nevada Las Vegas includes:

1. Electron Microanalysis and Imaging Laboratory (EMIL):
The Electron Microanalysis and Imaging Laboratory at UNLV, for imaging, and textural and chemical characterization of materials, includes three major instruments: (1) a JEOL 8900 Electron Probe Microanalyzer (EPMA), (2) a JEOL 5600 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and (3) a JEOL Field Emission SEM-JSM6700F, equipped with an Oxford Electron Backscatter Detector (EBSD) for microstructural and lattice-orientation studies. A diamond wafering saw and wire saw and Vibromet polisher are available for EBSD sample preparation. The laboratory is maintained by a full-time, state funded Ph.D.-level research faculty-electron microscopy specialist, Dr. Minghua Ren.

Contact: Mingua Ren

2. X-ray Diffraction Spectrometer:
UNLV Geoscience operates a powder X-ray diffractometer with Cuk_alpha radiation. For questions about access and further information, please contact Oliver Tschauner

Contact: Oliver Tschauner

3. Rock Preparation Facilities:
The Geoscience Department houses several laboratory facilities for the preparation of samples for geological analysis. For sample crushing, facilities include Bico Chipmunk and Badger rock crushers, a Bico rotary disk mill, and a Ro-Tap for size sieving crushed samples. For preparation of oriented slabs and thin sections, a water saws with 18 an diamond blade, a large oil saws with 24 inch diamond blade, a trim saw, and Hillquist thin section machine and section grinder are available.

Contact: Tomas Capaldi

4. Mineral Separation:
The Mineral Separation Laboratory is well equipped for the preparation of high purity mineral separates. Facilities for heavy liquid mineral separations include two Nuaire perchloric hoods, a centrifuge, and a Buchi Rotavapor still for the reclamation of heavy liquids. The laboratory also includes a Wilfley table for heavy mineral separations, an air-abrader, three Franz isodynamic magnetic separators, and one Franz magnetic barrier separator. An Olympus 5260 microscope with reflected fiber optic light source and transmitted light base is used for the final hand picking of mineral separates.

Contact: Christopher Adcock

5. Structural Geology Laboratory:
Structural geology laboratory is set up for microstructural and strain analysis. A Nikon Optiphot Polarizing microscope is equipped with a Nikon 4-axis Universal Stage. An Olympus BHSP-2 Polarizing Microscope with an Olympus SC100 10.6 megapixel digital camera and cellSens digital imaging software. The lab uses NIH Image software for image processing and analysis, coupled with spreadsheet-based macro programs for strain analysis.

Contact: Michael Wells

6. Nevada Isotope Geochronology Laboratory (NIGL):
The NIGL houses a MAP215-50 noble gas mass spectrometer, high vacuum extraction line, resistance heated furnace, and infrared (CO2) and UV (excimer) lasers. The MAP 215-50, its extraction line, and auxiliary equipment are computer automated using LABVIEW software. The NIGL produces dates on rocks and minerals using the 40Ar/39Ar method (a variant of the conventional K/Ar method). The 40Ar/39Ar dating method has a wide range of uses in geochronology and thermochronology.

Contact: Kevin Konrad

7. Nevada Plasma Facility Laboratory (NPFL):
NPFL recently installed an iCAPTM Qc ICP-MS from Thermo ScientificTM, with a CetacTM ASX520 autosampler. The equipped collision cell removes most molecular interferences, and the simultaneous analog/pulse counting detector with real time multi-channel analyzer electronics provides >9 orders of dynamic range. iCAP provides elemental measurements in solution mode for most non-volatile elements.

Contact: Shichun Huang

8. Las Vegas Isotope Science Laboratory (LVIS Lab):
Supported by the NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, the LVIS lab is equipped with a ThermoElectron Delta V Plus Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer, Kiel IV device for automated preparation of d18O and d13C in carbonates, TC/EA High Temperature Conversion Elemental Analyzer for determination of O and H isotopes in waters and solids, Carlo Erba NA 1500 Elemental Analyzer for determinations of C, N, H, O in organic matter and organic carbon isotopes; The LVIS lab also is equipped with facilities and fume hoods for chemical processing. The LVIS lab also contains sampling equipment including: Sherline Precision Mill for high-resolution (to <100 µm) stable isotope sampling of carbonate laminae and cements; Merchantek computer-controlled microdrill with a dedicated Leica GZ6 microscope for super-high resolution (to 20 µm) sampling of carbonate cements and components, equipped with digital camera and screen capture; Petroscope for thin section analysis; 12X, 24X, and 42X objectives provide ample width of view (up to 22 mm) for detailed analysis of meso-scale structures. Mejia 8TR stereomicroscope and Fuji S7000 Digital Camera for image capture.

Contact: Ganqing Jiang and Matt Lachniet

In the next year, we will receive a ESI  193 nm Excimer NWR193 laser ablation system, which will be coupled to the existing iCAPTM Qc ICP-MS. We will also receive a Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS).

Contact: Shichun Huang and Arya Udry

9. Nevada Rock Deformation Laboratory (NERD):
This lab is equipped with a newly refurbished Griggs modified piston cylinder apparatus capable of deformation experiments at conditions up to 1.8 GPa and 1400 C and strain rates between 10-4/sec and 10-7/sec. Other equipment includes: Diamond wafering saw and wire saw, Vacuum drying oven and high temperature furnace (1200 C); Nikon Eclipse LV100 Research grade polarizing microscope with transmitted and reflected light, outfitted with a Medenbach micro drill, Vibromet polisher (for EBSD sample preparation), Quorum Technologies QT150T ES turbo pumped sputter coater/carbon coater.

Contact: Pamela Burnley

10. UNLV High Pressure Science and Engineering Center:
This lab contains two micro-Raman spectrometers with micro-positioning stages, a liquid N2-cooled CCD (Oxford instruments) and a Hamamatsu 1/2″ photomultiplier, a high-resolution U1000 double-axis monochromator, a ISA Triax single axis monochromator, a Spectraphysics Ar-ion laser emitting 1.8 W at 514 nm with ultrastable power control and beam-position control, a Lexel Ar-ion and a Kr-ion laser emitting at 488 and 647 nm. Additional equipment includes (A) a micro-optical spectrometer for pressure determination using the ruby fluorescence method with electronic micropositioning, a 0.5 m Acton single-axis monochromator, a Peltiercooled CCD (Roper), and a blue diode laser emitting at 404nm. (B) a micro-optical spectrometer for spectroradiometric temperature-measurement with an Acton 1/4 m single axis monochromator, a Peltier-cooled CCD (Roper) implemented in a CO2- laser heating system. (C) loading and preparation facilities for diamond anvil cells including several stereozoom microscopes, EDM micro-drilling devices, diamond alignment tools, cryogenic loading device (D) access to the HPCAT beamline at the APS for powder X-ray diffraction of samples in diamond cells, and for X-ray inelastic scattering to probe local coordination of elements in glasses and liquids.

Contact: Pamela Burnley

11. Fluid and Melt Inclusion Laboratory:
This lab is equipped with a USGS-type gas-flow heating/freezing stage (Fluid, Inc.) for fluid inclusion analyses, a Linkam gas flow heating/freezing stage for fluid inclusion analysis, and a Linkam high temperature stage for melt inclusion rehomogenization.

Contact: Simon Jowitt

12. Shock-deformation Laboratory:
This lab is equipped with two single stage light gas guns of 7mm and 15 mm bore for velocities up to 2 km/s, velocimeters, capture tanks for shock-recovery experiments, and one vertical gun (6mm bore, 500m/s maximum flyer velocity). Additionally, four diamond cells of a novel type optimized for single crystal diffraction at low to ambient temperatures and pressures to above 100 GPa are available. These cells provide a 92° Japperture when used on a 4-circle goniometer. There are also loading and preparation facilities for diamond anvil cells including stereozoommicroscopes, EDM micro-drilling devices, diamond alignment tools, a cryogenic loading device. A CO2-laser heating system with two combined stabilized CO2 lasers of 125 and 60 W cw power, adjustable focal spot diameter and adjustable power profile, microstage positioning, pyrometric temperature measurement through reflecting optic is also housed in this lab

Contact: Oliver Tschauner

13. UNLV HYTRAC (Hydrology, Tree Rings, and Climate Lab)
The HYTRAC Lab is equipped with two Velmex TA Stage Measurement Systems (including boom stereozoom microscopes and cameras) for non-contact measurement and analysis of core and cross-section tree-ring specimens, a full Tellervo measuring system and relational database, and and tree-ring sample polishing equipment.

Contact: Bethany Coulthard

14. Medical Geology Laboratory
The Medical Geology Laboratory houses an eclectic collection of instruments to safely work with hazardous materials while performing physical and chemical analyses of environmental samples. The laboratory includes a special asbestos and radionuclide hood, and a Labconco Filtered Balanced System for safely handling asbestos and other hazardous particulates.

Contact: Brenda Buck