Laboratory facilities and research in the geology department are discussed together because of the close connection between available laboratory equipment and research programs. Research in our department serves the dual role of faculty development and teaching. Research labs are the same labs in which many upper level courses are taught. Participation in research and research-like experiences are a vital part of the Union Geology education. All laboratory equipment is used in courses, and is accessible to students for use in independent, faculty supervised research projects.
The geological collections in the department represent a significant teaching and research resource. These include the Wheatley, Pfordte, Leo M. Hall, and other collections of minerals, rocks, and fossils. The department also maintains a sizable collection of topographic and geologic maps in addition to the library collections.
The major items of laboratory equipment support specific research and teaching needs. These include rock and mineral analysis (X-ray diffraction, ICP-MS), high pressure equipment to simulate conditions deep within the earth and to make measurements of material properties under those conditions, sedimentology (grain size analysis, inorganic and organic carbon analysis, core image analysis), water analysis (ion chromatograph, field measurement equipment) and general sample preparation equipment (crushers, sieves and shakers, rock saws, thin section equipment).