Analytical Equipment &
Computer Facilities


Geochemistry Laboratories

The geochemistry laboratories in the Department of Geological Sciences are the core facilities of a program that integrates modern analytical techniques into the environmental geochemistry, hydrogeology, and volcanology teaching and research programs.

Funding for these laboratories was provided by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the National Science Foundation, and matching state funds.

Departmental facilities include:

* Rock sample preparation facilities, including a ball mill, magnetic separator, rock saws and thin section equipment;

* An automated Philips PW 3400 Powder X-Ray Diffractometer for single and multiphase characterization. Philips software includes modern routines for peak location, searchable ICCD Powder Diffraction File (2000) database for phase identification (organic and inorganic), particle size and strain analysis, quantitative analysis, and full Rietveldt Refinement. The instrument is easy for undergraduate students to learn to use for precise work and powerful enough for a full spectrum of x-ray diffraction research projects;

* A HEPA-filtered, positive-pressure clean laboratory, equipped with a 4 ft. perchloric fume hood, a 6 ft. exhaust fume hood, a 4 ft. laminar flow hood, and an RO/nanopure water purification system, for dissolution of soils and rocks and elemental separation for waters, soils, and rocks;

* A stable isotope laboratory for extraction of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen;

* A ThermoElemental X-series inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, equipped with a ASX-510 Cetac autosampler, for major and trace element analyses of earth materials;

* A ThermoFinnigan DeltaPlus XP gas source mass spectrometer for analysis of the isotopes of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.


The department is equipped with digital surveying equipment: Leica Total stations and Trimble 4700 and 5700 kinematic GPS devices, computer hardware, and software. The department has Nikon and Leica petrographic microscopes and research polarizing reflected and transmitting light microscopes with CCD-video camera displays.

Computer Facilities

The department has excellent computer facilities for instruction and research. These include numerous Windows, Mac and Linux workstations supported by department servers for file storage and numerical processing. JPL's GIPSY and GAMIT - GLOBK GPS data reduction software is available. CWU has a site license for ArcGIS for GIS work.

Geodesy Laboratory

The Geodesy Laboratory is the data processing center for the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA). In addition, the Lab also analyzes data from roughly 1000 GPS stations that comprise the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory, whose stations span the Pacific-North American tectonic plate boundary from Alaska to Mexico. The Laboratory analyses continuous data from the permanent GPS array in the Pacific Northwest. The Lab also conducts GPS experiments and analyzes data from southern California, northern Baja California and in the Pacific Northwest. The Geodesy Laboratory has a pool of Trimble SSi, 4700, and 5700 receivers for geodetic experiments.