The UT (U-Th)/He Geo- and Thermochronometry Laboratory is a state-of-the art facility for the development of (U-Th) dating and its applications to tectonics, petrology, volcanology, stratigraphy, geomorphology, and geoarcheology. The facility houses: (1) 3 fully-automated UHV He extraction lines with 2 diode lasers, 1 Nd:YAG lasers, cryogenic purification systmes, quadrupole mass-specs, and step-heating apparati for diffusion measurements, (2) a Helix SFT magnetic sector noble gas mass-spectrometer with automated UHV gas extraction system with diode and excimer laser, (3) two Element2 HR-ICP-MS instruments for solution and laser ablation analysis for thermo- and geochronometery, as well as a dedicated clean room and sample preparation laboratories.
The portal is the gateway to the Marine Seismic Data Center (MSDC). MSDC's goal is to support education and research with access to and preservation of academic active-source seismic data. Our partner, the Academic Seismic Portal at LDEO, has a complementary seismic inventory primarily of field data. These cooperating data centers, part of the Marine Geoscience Data System, are supported by the National Science Foundation.
The Institute for Geophysics shares data from a range of aerogephysical missions flown over Antarctica.
UTIG has developed, maintained, and operated a suite of aerogeophysical instrumentation since the early 1990s with continual improvements since inception. The suite was installed aboard a Dehavilland DHC-6 ("Twin Otter") up to 2005 and aboard a Basler BT-67 (a version of DC-3T -- a Douglas DC-3 refitted with turboprop engines) since 2008. The current instruments are: High Capability Radar Sounder (HiCARS); Multibeam, Scanning Photon Counting Lidar; Cesium Vapor Magnetometer; Gravimeter; Dual-frequency, carrier-phase Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS); Laser Altimeter; Two GPS-aided Inertial Measurement Units; Three-Axis Fluxgate Magnetometer; System Control, Data Acquisition, and Real-time QC and Monitoring functions.
Airborne Optech LIDAR System
For fine-scale topographic mapping
Analytical Geochemistry Lab
The Jackson School of Geosciences now has four stable isotope laboratories. UTIG Director and DGS faculty member Terry Quinn supervises one of these labs: ALPS. The ALPS houses two, state-of-the-science, Thermo isotope ratio mass spectrometers and an Inductively Coupled Plasma-spectrometer (ICP).
An industry-funded consortium dedicated to producing innovative new concepts in salt tectonics. This research comprises a mix of physical and mathematical modeling and seismic-based mapping and structural-stratigraphic analysis of some of the world's most spectacular salt basins.
Aqueous Geochemistry Lab
Characterizes the chemical properties of water and solids to support research in hydrogeology, geochemistry, and geomicrobiology. Equipment used: carbon analyzer (TC), Organic analysis Field and laboratory gas chromatographs, thermal desorber, high pressure liquid chromatographs, Inorganic analyses Ion chromatograph, autotitrator, field and lab spectrophotometers. BET sorptometer for N2, Ar, and Kr BET surface areas, and A microporosities, organic carbon analyzer.
Carbonate Petrography Lab
The lab is a combined effort of the Department of Geological Sciences and the Bureau of Economic Geology's Carbonate Reservoir Characterization Research Laboratory. The lab contains tools for characterization of carbonate outcrops including the most recent version of the Optech Ilris long-range ground-based LIDAR system and a full suite of interpretation software and high-end workstations using Innovmetric Polyworks, Petrel, GoCad, and standard ARC software tools. Other tools include low- and high-magnification petrographic scopes, digital photographic capabilities, and a cold-cathode microscope setup with low-light-capable photomicroscopy. An extensive collection of samples from classic carbonate field areas both modern and ancient is also available for comparative analysis.
The desktop cathodoluminescence system provides valuable visual information from rocks and minerals not seen using regular light petrography or other electron beam equipment. Here, electrons bombard a regular rock thin section and the sample glows in visible light. A high-resolution digital camera captures the images. Applications include examining carbonate textures, quartz overgrowths and filled fractures in sedimentary rocks and understanding mineral zoning and fluid interactions in intrusive igneous rocks.
The Austin Core Research Center (CRC), located adjacent to Bureau headquarters, is the Bureau of Economic Geology's main core repository for core and rock material donated to the university. More than 500,000 boxes of core and cuttings from wells drilled throughout Texas, the U.S., and the world are available at this facility for public viewing and research. Austin, Houston, and Midland core facilities have combined holdings of nearly 2 million boxes of geologic material. The Integrated Core and Log Database (IGOR) is a searchable database for all CRC core and well cutting holdings. Public facilities include core examination layout rooms and processing rooms for slabbing core. Other services are available upon request.
The Houston Research Center (HRC), is located on the west side of Houston, Texas, six miles north of I-10 and two miles south of U.S. Highway 290. This state-of-the-art climate-controlled facility is equipped to permanently store and curate over 900,000 boxes of geologic core and cuttings. The Houston, Austin, and Midland core facilities have combined holdings of nearly 2 million boxes of geologic material. In addition to the climate-controlled core and cuttings warehouse, the HRC complex has offices, laboratories, and a well-lit core layout room available for visiting scientists. There are also two conference rooms to accommodate guests attending short courses and seminars. Other services are available upon request. Nominal fees are charged to rent table space and to view core. The HRC has space dedicated for storing samples and cores acquired by NSF-funded research. The HRC curates this material and facilitates continued access to the material by researchers. The Integrated Core and Log Database (IGOR) is a searchable database for all core and well cutting holdings.
The Midland Core Research Center (MCRC) contains nearly 500,000 boxes of core and cuttings available for public viewing and research. Midland, Austin, and Houston core facilities have combined holdings of nearly 2 million boxes of geologic material. The Integrated Core and Log Database (IGOR) is a searchable database for all CRC core and well cutting holdings. Public facilities include core examination layout rooms and processing rooms for slabbing core.
We take existing moored current meter data, process it using a handful of MatLab routines, and output one tarfile containing all the data in one standardized format. We have included here (v. 1) data from OSU (Buoy Group and Deep Water Archive) as well as 7 different smaller datasets obtained from Carl Wunsch.
The 100-acre Devine Test Site (DTS) is located less than 50 miles southwest of San Antonio, Texas, in Medina County, Texas. The site is managed by the Exploration Geophysics Laboratory (EGL), an Industrial Associate Program at the Bureau of Economic Geology. It is a state-of-the-art public-domain geophysical research facility for academia and industry donated to the university in 1998 by BP. The test site is used for surface-based seismic and potential-field experiments performed in conjunction with downhole and crosswell experiments.
The Digital Morphology library (www.digimorph.org) is a National Science Foundation-funded initiative offering 2D and 3D visualizations of the internal and external structure of living and extinct vertebrates, and a growing number of non-vertebrates. Images are generated using the world's first high-resolution X-ray CT scanner in an academic science department, in the CT lab at the Jackson School.
Researchers have engineered state-of-the-art equipment that facilitate the collection of down-hole measurements. These tools are: MDHDS - Motion De-Coupled Hydraulic Delivery System, a method for inserting penetrometers in borehole; T2P - Temperature 2 Pressure Probe, a penetrometer for measurement of pressure & temperature. See related website for more detail.
Dual-frequency Geodetic Quality GPS Receivers
We have 5 Trimble Net-RS receivers, tripods, choke ring antennas. One is with Tiffany Caudle at BEG used to support the Optech Lidar system. The other 4 are in JGB 3.122 and used by various groups.
Installed in 2002-2003, the JEOL JXA-8200 electron probe microanalyzer (EPMA) is equipped with five wavelength dispersive spectrometers (WDS), an energy dispersive detector (EDS), and two image detectors in secondary and backscattered electron modes. The primary aim of the microprobe is quantitative elemental analysis of minerals on a microscale with high precision (less than a percent relative for major constituents) and low detection limits (commonly a few tens to few hundreds ppm)
Installed in the fall of 2001, this is a 30 kV tungsten gun high-resolution environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) with a 3.5 nm resolution in high vacuum, low vacuum, and environmental modes at 30 kV. The ESEM is equiped with a Peltier cooled stage, a heating stage, an EDS sytem (EDAX), a EBSD system (HKL – Oxford Instruments), and a cathodoluminescence detector (Gatan).
Experimental Petrology Lab
A state-of-the-art laboratory that consists of three DelTech furnaces for TZM-style pressure vessels and eleven cold-seal pressure vessel systems, four of which are equipped with rapid-quench capabilities. The pressure line for the cold-seal vessels allows for controlled, continuous decompressions. Combined, the experimental facilities allow experiments to be run at up to ~1250 degrees C and from atmospheric to 4000 bars pressure, depending on temperature. The lab also is equipped with a one-atmosphere gas-mixing furnace for homogenization of glasses in controlled atmospheres. Recent funding from the National Science Foundation will allow the laboratory to acquire a Piston Cylinder Apparatus to allow experimental conditions to be extended to 1700 degrees C and up to 4 GPa (40,000 bars) pressure.
The JSG gemology and lapidary laboratories comprises two separate facilities: 1) a teaching laboratory housing ten Vargas Fac-a-Gem faceting machines, a custom-built gemstone preformer, and allied tools, equipment (e.g. refractometers, polariscopes, spectrascope, gem microscope, etc.) and displays for faceting and identifying gemstone; 2) a dedicated laboratory with table-top and free-standing rock saws, grinders, sanders and polishing equipment for producing polished rock slabs and cabochons. The laboratories are used by students enrolled in a Gems and Gem Minerals course who receive instruction and introductory training in gemstone identification and the lapidary arts and, less frequently, by graduate students and faculty requiring precision cutting and grinding capabilities for mineral or rock samples.
Fission Track Thermochronology Laboratory
Enables analysis of fission tracks in apatite and zircon to constrain the low-temperature time-temperature (t-T) history of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks.
Flash Flood & Tsunami Flume
The Flash Flood and Tsunami flume is a large (approximately 40 x 1.5 x 0.8 m) outdoor flume with a computer-controlled headbox lift gate that generates reproducible flood bores. It is being used to study the hydraulics and sediment transport of rapidly changing hydrographs.
Fluid Inclusion Lab (BEG)
Principal equipment includes: an Olympus BX 51 optical microscope, fitted for use with transmitted, reflected and UV light; a FLUID, Inc.-adapted USGS-type gas flow heating/cooling stage; a Linkam THMSG 600 degree C programmable heating/cooling stage; and a digital camera. The lab is fully equipped with sample preparatory facilities for preparation of doubly-polished thin and thick sections. The lab will soon incorporate an experimental hydrothermal lab component that will include 6 externally-heated cold-seal pressure vessels (up to 800°C, up to 700 MPa) used for the preparation of synthetic fluid inclusions and for quartz cement growth experiments.
Fluid Inclusion Lab (DGS)
The fluid inclusion laboratory is based around a modified USGS-type gas-flow heating/freezing stage capable of microthermometry of fluid inclusions over a range of 700° to -180°C. The stage is mounted on an Olympus BX51 microscope with a 40X long-working distance objective, 2X image magnifier, and digital camera for image capture. The microscope also has capability for UV fluorescence petrography. Complementary facilities are available for reflected and transmitted light petrography and image capture.
Gas Geochemistry Lab
This lab provides the following geochemical analysis capabilities: 1) Wasson-ECE Agilent 7890A gas chromatograph for gas compositional analysis of natural gas, soil gas, dissolved gas, and rock crushed gas; 2) Shimadzu QP2010S GCMS for liquid hydrocarbon compositional analysis of oil, solvent extracts, soil contaminants; 3) TharSFC H/PT apparatus Gas solubility measurement under high temperature and pressure conditions; 4) A high temperature and pressure gas adsorption system for gas adsorption isotherm analyses; 5) SA 3100 Surface Area Analyzer for surface area and pore size distribution analysis in porous rocks and mediums; 6) Foss Soxlet 2403 automatic extraction system for hydrocarbon extraction from soils, oil-bearing source rocks, and sandstones and carbonates; and 7) DIONEX ICS-1100 ion chromatography system for ion concentration analysis of brines.
GeoMechanics Lab (BEG)
In the GeoMechanics lab we study pore-scale sediment and fluid behavior. In this lab are components to make experimental specimens through resedimentation from either powdered sediment or extracted core material. Using the sediment, this lab can measure permeability and porosity with constant rate of strain experiments using any of our three load frames rated from 10,000 to 40,000 pounds or examine flow-through permeability and failure dynamics using a triaxial system. This lab is also capable of measuring permeability in tight gas shales using a series of Quizix pumps rated to 10,000 psi. The GeoMechanics lab is also spearheading the design of the ‘temperature 2 pressure’ (T2P) probe and a motion-decoupled hydraulic delivery system (MDHDS), a borehole tool capable of measuring in-situ temperature and pressure while de-coupled from the vessel and reporting data in real time. This probe will be deployed on an upcoming IODP (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program) expedition.
Geometrics GEODE Seismograph Systems
The Department has 2 boxes (total 48 Channels) with 48 vertical phones and 16 3 component phones).
Facilities for culturing and characterizing aerobic and anaerobic prokaryotes (Eubacteria and Archaeabacteria) using a Coy anaerobic chamber (H2/N2 atmosphere), Constant temperature water baths, autoclave, incubator, horizontal and vertical gel rigs, refrigerated centrifuge, UV light box, Thermalcycler, phase-contrast and fluorescent microscope. HPLC and GC facilities for degradation studies.
We have a custom built, low-frequency, short-pulse, ground-based radar system to image deep (>100 m) internal layers and the base of the ice sheet. Frequencies used with this system include 1, 2, 5 and 10 MHz. We also have a GSSI high-frequency (100MHz) ground-based radar system which can be used in several configurations and with a range of antennae frequencies. In addition, we have 7 GNSS GPS units for high-precision positioning, as well as multiple data loggers and time-lapse cameras for use in glaciological settings.
Geophysical Log Facility
Landmark and Geoquest software is used for processing and interpreting 3 dimensional seismic data.
Grain-sizing Sedimentology Lab
This laboratory contains Ro-tap seiving apparatus, a Micromeritics 5100 clay and silt size x-ray analyzer, and an automated settling column for sizing sand fraction.
This newly renovated lab is overseen by Jaime Barnes and houses a ThermoElectron MAT 253 with associated peripheral devices and instrumentation (TC/EA, GasBench II, Conflo IV, online silicate laser extraction line, general purpose vacuum extraction lines, Cl purification line). Instrumentation permits measurements of the stable H, C, N, O, S, and Cl isotope ratios of silicate, phosphate, and carbonate minerals, volcanic gases, air, and waters
Provides high resolution non-destructive, density maps of solid samples (rocks, fossils, etc) up to a maximum size of 50 cm diameter by 150 cm high (50 kg mass). Equipment: An industrial CT scanner that is an adaptation of medical CAT scanners.
Part of the USGS Seismic Network, the Hockley Station vault is 472 meters below surface in a salt mine. Site Geology: Located in the Willis Formation that is made of clay, silt, sand, and minor siliceous gravel. Deposited in the lower Pleistocene and is approximately 200 feet thick.
HR-ICP Mass Spectrometers
Equipment available: Thermo Element2 HR-ICP-MS with ESI autosampler system for solutions; and Thermo Element2 HR-ICP-MS with Photonmachines Analyte G2 Excimer laser ablation system.
This lab is dedicated to hydrogeology and environmental geology courses. It has facilities for grain-size analyses, porosity/ permeability testing, and a wide variety of lab demonstration techniques. It is also used as the base for groundwater field methods courses.
These tools include: 1) Electrical Resistivity Meter. The AGI SuperSting R8 IP is an 8-channel resistivity and induced polarization imaging system specially designed for large surveys where speed of data acquisition is of essence. Can be used for land applications with 6 m spacing, underwater applications with 2 m spacing, or boat-towed surveys with 1 to 5 m spacing. 2) Infrared Camera. The FLIR ThermaCAM SC640 is a high-resolution thermal infrared camera. The portable handheld radiometer (7.5 to 13 micron wavelength) takes images at 640x480 pixels at rates of down to 16 Hz. The precision of the camera is 0.08 C.
Ice Dynamics Model
A 4' x 6' bench-top physical model simulating water flow under ice sheets and glaciers. Ice is represented by a transparent polymer. Water is injected below the "ice" at varying rates to observe the effects of discharge pulses on the channel geometry and surface motion of the "ice." Changes in discharge are designed to mimic a typical diurnal discharge pattern observed on alpine glaciers.
Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy
This lab uses Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) analyses to measure dissolved water and carbon in natural and experimental silicate glasses. The lab is equipped with a Thermo Electron Nicolet 6700 FTIR spectrometer and Continuum IR microscope, equipped with automated x-y-z stage and stage purge system so that the spectrometer, microscope, and sample position are all purged with dry air that has <10 ppm CO2 for very precise measurements of CO2 poor glasses. Dedicated polishing facilities are also available for sample preparation.
The Isotope Clean Lab is a 600 square foot clean chemistry lab with seven Class-100 workspaces for preparation of rock, mineral, soil, plant and water samples for chemical and isotopic analysis under low-contamination conditions.
Isotope Clean Lab (Lassiter)
Within the Department of Geological Sciences there are three clean-room laboratories supplied with HEPA-filtered class 100 air where sample preparation and ion-exchange chromatography for isotopic analysis may be done under ultra-clean conditions, making possible very low analytical blanks (e.g., < 1 pg Pb for U-Pb geochronology, and <10 pg Sr). There are also two other laboratories with HEPA-filtered work stations where sample preparation and ion-exchange chromatography are performed. These labs are affiliated with the Mineral Separation Facility (see description).
The Mineral Physics Laboratory has a variety of diamond anvil cells (DACs) and relevant facilities that allow the study of planetary materials (minerals, fluids, glasses, single-crystal and polycrystalline compounds) under under extreme high pressure-temperature conditions. The DACs are integrated with laser and synchrotron X-ray spectroscopic techniques to probe material properties.
Mineral Separation Facility
Includes shatterboxes for sample pulverization, a crusher, a disc mill pulverizer, a Rogers table, a Wilfly table, a mica table, sieves, heavy liquids and Franz magnetic separators for mineral separation.
The MC-ICP-MS facility is centered around a Nu Instruments Nu Plasma 3D MC-ICP-MS featuring 6 Daly detectors for simultaneous measurement of multiple low abundance isotopes, in addition to 16 stationary Faraday cups, enhanced abundance transfer sensitivity optics (EATO) and dry scroll pumps. It is installed in a positively pressured, hepa-filtered, clean lab and supported by two clean chemistry labs for dissolution of samples and isolation of specific elements for isotope analyses. Samples may be introduced as a solution using the DSN100 desolvating nebulizer or as a solid using an Elemental Scientific Lasers (ESL) NWR193 laser. The facility regularly analyzes Li, Pb, Hf isotopes, parent isotopes Lu, Sm, and Rb for isotope dilution analyses (Sr and Nd measured by TIMS), and Lu-Hf in zircon by laser ablation. We are developing methods for multi-Daly measurement of low abundance isotopes for U isotope measurements, U-Th dating and laser ablation Pb and Li isotope measurements.
Nano Geosciences Lab
NanoGesociences Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art atomic force microscopy (AFM) and a set-up for accurate measurements of fluid flow and nanoparticle (NP) transport in porous media. We use AFM (1) to study surface features on geological samples such as nanopores in shale samples, (2) to measure interactive forces between different fluid molecules and pore walls in shales and (3) to measure adhesion parameters of nanoparticles to the minerals. With the flow system, we study transport and retention of NP in porous media at flow conditions.
Custom built 5-m tilting flume. Width: 30 cm. Depth: 1 meter. Other features: 3 removable windows with septa ports, fluids can be extracted or injected from the floor.
NPL, part of the Texas Natural Science Center, was created in 1999 as an answer to the increasing conservation and curation issues developing with the huge increase in collection size. Collections placed in the care of TNSC mainly were derived from research at the BEG, the UTDGS and the Museum (TMM) itself. Other material came from orphaned collections within Texas. Numerous other collections have been contributed as donations. Although an exact count has never been made, the collection is estimated to contain about 4 million.
An Ocean-Bottom Seismometer (OBS) is a seismometer that can be deployed on the seafloor for weeks or months, recording either earthquakes or man-made seismic signals. To withstand pressures at large depth (up to 5500 m) in the oceans, all electronics of this instrument are kept inside a glass sphere which can withstand such pressures. The sensors of all instruments (discussed below) include a 3-component accelerometer and a hydrophone, all designed for seismic data with a dominant frequency near 10 Hz. The seismic data are recorded on flash memory. Correct timing of the seismic recording is provided by an accurate clock, which also resides inside the sphere. After a seismic study on the seafloor is complete, the instrument is brought back to the sea surface using an acoustic release mechanism. UTIG has long been involved in marine seismology. The development of a UTIG OBS instrument program began in 1978.
Optec Laser Scanners (ILRIS)
The Optec ILRIS Laser Scanners are part of the BEG RCRL/JSG consortium. They are state-of-the-art ground-based terrestrial laser scanning/mapping devices, that, when coupled with the Innovmetric Polyworks software, allows high-resolution mapping of earth-surface features,with accuracies of a few cm. These tools are part of the aresenal of tools that the RCRL uses to generate digital 3D earth models for carbonate reservoir analogs.
Major instrumentation includes: (1) Gas chromatograph-single quadrupole mass spectrometer (GC-IRMS) for quantification and identification of organic compounds, and (2) HPLC-signgle quadrupole mass spectrometer (HPLC-MS) equipped with intelligent fraction collection for identification, quantification and isolation of high molecular weight compounds.
There are several aspects to our laboratory that make it different from others. One is our automatic handler system created at California Institute of Technology and adapted for our needs. Scientists and students can keep up with changes to our system by keeping in touch with the other 6 similar systems in the world and RAPID Consortium at http://rapid.gps.caltech.edu/. It also includes a cryogenic magnetometer and portable magnetic susceptibility meter (TerraPlus KT-10 Plus).
Micro-scale imaging of rocks using directly observed visible light. Equipment: Low-power stereo microscopes, high resolution low-magnification scanned imaging, transmitted and reflected cross-polarized microscopy, high resolution 3D light microscopy (Edge R400) UV-stimulated fluorescence microscopy, microscope-mounted CL Photomicrography systems for all of these methods, both digital (Polaroid DMC) and conventional film.
Portable Field Magnetometers
Geometrics 856 Proton Precession Magnetometer
We own two instruments: (1) LaCoste-Romberg G meter (precision ~50 microGals), and (2) ZLS Burris gravimeter (precision ~5 microGals).
UTIG owns and maintains elements of a self-contained, portable, high resolution multichannel seismic (MCS) system that has been used over the past several years in salt- and fresh-water depths from ~4m to over 1km, on vessels from 10m to 35m in length. The 24-channel system is designed to be transported worldwide and to be installed on vessels of opportunity. Survey design, navigation, data acquisition, and near real-time MCS processing can be performed on non-dedicated laptops in the field. Deployment and recovery of gear is done by hand, requiring as few as 3 persons. The only constraints on the system are weight limits of the vessel and electrical requirements of the dedicated air compressors. For platforms with insufficient electrical capabilities, a fuel-powered generator or air compressor can be rented as a substitute.
Broad-band Guralp seismographs for regional studies of the crust and mantle
The Quadrupole ICP-MS laboratory (with laser ablation) is used for elemental determinations in a wide range of liquid (e.g., natural waters, dissolved sediments/rocks, digested biomass) and solid (e.g., rocks, minerals, glasses) samples. The ICP-MS instrument is an Agilent 7500ce, capable of measuring trace element concentrations in solution over a nine-order linear dynamic range, from ppt to 100s of ppm. Sample introduction systems include a Micromist concentric nebulizer with a Peltier-cooled spray chamber for aspirating solutions, and a New-Wave UP¬193-FX 193 nm excimer laser ablation system for micro-sampling of solids. Sub-ppm detection limits are obtained routinely by laser ablation. The Agilent 7500ce is equipped with a collision/reaction cell, allowing for quantification of environmentally important matrix/plasma-sensitive elements such as As, Se, and Fe. The instrument is housed in a positive-pressure HEPA-filtered laboratory equipped with a weighing station, laminar flow bench, and Type 1 (18.2 M?) ultrapure water station.
UTIG owns and operates a 22' aluminum hulled research vessel, the R/V Lake Itasca. The Itasca is a custom built hull powered by twin 115 HP Honda outboard engines equipped with hydraulic steering. The vessel is equipped with a starboard side davit (Fig. 5) that has been used to deploy a variety of water column gear including CTDs, grab samplers, gravity corers, isokinetic water samplers and niskin bottle samplers. Generally the vessel operates in survey mode with a maximum of 3-5 persons onboard. The vessel is equipped with rack mounts that contain a Reson Seabat multibeam system. Other acoustic devices that have been towed by the Itasca include the UTIG CHIRP subbottom profiler, sidescan sonars, and acoustic Doppler current profilers. The R/V Lake Itasca has been used throughout the Gulf of Mexico in rivers, estuaries and the inner shelf in calm seas. It has also been transported as far afield as British Columbia (Fraser River). The vessel can be shipped worldwide in a standard shipping container.
Radioisotope Counting Lab
This laboratory contains gamma and alpha spectrometers for measuring radioistope activities in sediment and water samples.
Revolving Environmental Lab
The REL includes a geoprobe for drilling, an Ion Chromatograph for analyzing anions and cations, and a stratified aquifer sampler for analyzing varying groundwater flow and quality with depth.
The Bureau houses two SEMs devoted primarily to research on unconventional reservoirs under projects supported by industry consortia (FRAC, MSRL, RCRL) and by government-sponsored programs (STARR, GCCC). One is a conventional SEM devoted to wide-area mosaic mapping for the study of microscale fracture populations in tight formations. The other is a high-resolution instrument largely devoted to the study of gas shales.
Installed in 2008, this is a high-performance, 30 kV tungsten gun scanning electron microscope with a high resolution of 3.0 nm. The low vacuum mode allows for observation of specimens which cannot be viewed at high vacuum due to a non-conductive surface. This SEM has three detector systems - secondary electron (SE), backscattered electron (BSE), and X-ray EDS detectors.
Skeleton Preparation Facility
Located at the VPL Annex on the Pickle Research Campus, the Skeleton Preparation Facility is used to transform fleshy carcasses of modern animals such as birds, mammals and reptiles into clean skeletons for comparison with paleontological specimens.
The Institute maintains two sonar systems for seafloor mapping: 1) The Reson Seabat 7101 (aka 'WANDA') multibeam sonar. 2) The Edgetech 272-TD sidescan sonar¬a towed instrument that operates at either 100 kHz or 500 kHz. The 272-TD towfish is lightweight enough so that it can be deployed by one person, which makes this system ideal for use from smaller boats or ones where an onboard handling system is not available. We utilize a Coda Geosurvey DA500 acquisition unit ( http://www.codaoctopus.com).
This lab is designed for the study of caves, soils and vegetative canopies. The GasBench II and Thermo Electron 253 in the High Temp. Stable Isotope lab are currently being used to measure the carbon isotope composition of soil and cave CO2, CO2 respired in soil respiration experiments, and dissolved inorganic carbon and calcium carbonates from multiple environments.
The structural geology lab is where rocks are processed for structural geology and tectonics research. Storage space and all necessary equipment are available for preparing slabs, thin sections, and mineral separation for geochronology.
UTIG owns and maintains an integrated sonar system for use in conducting Compressed High Intensity Radar Pulse (CHIRP) subbottom profiling of the upper sediment layers of the ocean bottom or various fresh water systems. The 3200-XS system was purchased in 2007 from Edgetech Corp. of West Wareham, MA (see www.edgetech.com) and can be deployed in water depths from ~2 m to >300 m with an optimum towing height of 3-5 m above seafloor. Deployment and recovery of the towfish can be done by shipboard winches for shallower deployments or a larger UTIG-owned Electro-Hydraulic winch. Constraints on vessel size are dependent on shipboard winches capability of handling either the large (190kg SB-512i) or small (76 kg SB-216S) towfish. Power control, navigation, video display, data acquisition and data storage are all performed by one topside processing unit. The system can be powered by 18-36 VDC or 110/240 VAC (auto-ranging). The system is presently comprised of: 3200-XS topside computer processor, 4-transducer SB-512i towfish, 1-transducer SB-216s towfish, electro-hydraulic winch with 500 m of armored tow cable, 3 shallow water tow cables of 10, 25, and 50 m length, GPS navigation system.
Superconducting Gravimeter Lab
A GWR superconducting gravimeter (precision ~0.01 micrGals) configured to be transportable, used in hydrologic and other studies. This is usually deployed in the field for campaigns of months and longer.
TACC designs and deploys the world's most powerful advanced computing technologies and innovative software solutions to enable researchers to answer complex questions. TACC's environment includes a comprehensive cyberinfrastructure ecosystem of leading-edge resources in high performance computing (HPC), visualization, data analysis, storage, archive, cloud, data-driven computing, connectivity, tools, APIs, algorithms, consulting, and software.
The TIMS Lab is a state-of-the-art facility capable of measuring Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, Re-Os, U-Th-Pb and U-series isotopes in a variety of materials, with the goal of resolving fundamental questions in the fields of geology, hydrology, archaeology and environmental science.
Trimble Real Time Kinematic System
The Trimble RTK GPS system is a real-time kinematically corrected GPS surveying tool that allows mapping resolution of within a few cm in X, Y, and Z,so substantially more accurate than any standard hand-held GPS unit that has a vertical error commonly of several meters. This is part of the arsenal of tools that the RCRL uses to generate digital 3D earth models for carbonate reservoir analogs.
UT Experimental Deep Water Basin
The UTDW Basin is an experimental tank designed to physically model morphodynamic and stratigraphic evolution of continental margins and other subaqueous sediment transport systems. It is 4 m wide, 8 m long, and 2 m deep. The tank has 5 observation windows, underwater lighting and an array of synced overhead cameras. The facility is designed to map underwater deposit surfaces in space through time and measure fluid dynamic and sediment transport properties of formative density flows.
The STEP Basin is an experimental flume designed to physically model morphodynamic and stratigraphic evolution of the fluviodeltaic system. It is 4 m wide, 5 m long, and 1.5 m tall. This facility is one of only three in the world with a computer-controlled basement motion, which can mimic 1) fore-hinge (passive margin), 2) back-hinge (foreland basin), and 3) lateral tilting subsidence patterns.
The Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory (VPL) is known worldwide as a major repository for unique scientific collections from the American Southwest. VPL was founded in 1948 by John A. Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Geology at The University of Texas at Austin. Today, VPL is the principal repository for vertebrate fossils collected from state and federal lands in Texas and contiguous areas, as well as for specimens collected elsewhere using state and federal funds. The fossil vertebrate holdings of VPL rank among the seven largest in North America.
For both low and high frequency 3-axis shaking. These are managed through the NSF facility in Civil Engineering. Clark Wilson is a co-PI of this and they have used one of them to support a geophysics field camp last summer.
This lab is equipped with a Spectrex PC-2200 Laser Particle Counter and several sets of 8" brass mesh sieves to analyze volcanic particles in sizes from centimeters down to 1 micrometer for determining size distributions of volcanic tephra deposits and their componentry.
The primary research collections of the library presently include more than 100,000 book and journal volumes and 46,000 geologic maps, among them the publications of the U.S. Geological Survey, most state geological surveys, and those of many foreign countries. Regional emphasis of the collection is on the Southwestern United States, Texas, and Mexico. The Institute and Bureau also have extensive libraries related to their specific research areas.
Wind Tunnel/Flume Lab
The Department of Geological Sciences maintains two wind tunnels for experiments in aeolian transport. One tunnel (0.5 m2 X 10 m) features a long transport section that ends in a slipface. The second tunnel features a rotating table (1 m in diameter) that can be used to simulate any range of wind directions.
Installed in 2008, the Bruker D8 Advance X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) provides routine, non-quantitative mineral identification in rock powders. The D8 XRD is now driven by automation software with integrated pattern analysis by Bruker EVA and Topas using the ICDD PDF-2 Minerals database. Samples for XRD must be carefully ground rock powders (no gritty lumps) or fine size fractions separated by centrifugation or gravity settling.