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Tectonics and Geochronology

Isotope Geochemistry Sample Preparation Facilities

The Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory (IGL) occupies nearly 2800 square feet on the University's West Campus. Separate air-conditioned rooms house our VG Sector mass spectrometer, our (U-Th)/He facility, and a LA-HRICP-MS laboratory (currently under construction). A second laboratory complex is used for the final stages of mineral separation, including handpicking and magnetic separation and other routine aspects of laboratory work. We also have a three-unit clean-room suite with ceiling-mounted laminar-flow units for room air, laminar-flow workstations for column chemistry, and filtered-air evaporation boxes for drying samples.

The shared KU Geology rock crushing and grinding facilities include a jaw crusher, disc grinder, ball mill, and various dry and wet sieving equipment. The IGL mineral separation laboratory is optimized for the separation of apatite, zircon, monazite, titanite etc. and includes sample washing and drying facilities, a new Pyramid table (similar to Wilfley table), sample drying ovens, two large fume hoods with heavy liquids apparatuses, two Frantz magnetic separators, centrifuges, ultrasonic cleaners, and binocular and petrographic microscopes for final sample inspection. The mineral separation facilities employ several undergraduate students.

Mineral grains are handpicked and screened for inclusions using a Nikon SMZ-U stereomicroscope with a rotating stage. The stereomicroscope has both transmitted (polarized) and reflected light capabilities. Prior to loading samples into Pt sleeves, all grains are digitally photographed using a Nikon digital ColorView® camera and all digital pictures are archived.