The Department of Geology is located on the 5th and 6th floors of the Geology Physics building on UC’s west campus. Cincinnati itself is famous for what we like to call our outdoor laboratory or the magnificent Ordovician strata that is exposed in the tri-state area. In terms of traditional laboratory facilities, our department houses the following:
- Biogeochemistry Laboratory: Dr. Amy Townsend-Small's laboratory houses a Shimadzu TOC Analyzer for Dissolved inorganic and organic carbon analyses, Shimadzu GC-2014 greenhouse gas analyzer for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (with FID and ECD detectors), CE Elantech Flash 2000 carbon and nitrogen analyzer, microbalance, Retsch ball mill/grinder, deionized and reverse osmosis water purifiers.
- Cosmogenic Dating Preparation Laboratories: The University of Cincinnati has facilities to prepare sediment and rock samples for Be-10 and Al-26 cosmogenic surface exposure dating. The department has a rock crushing laboratory, heavy liquid separation laboratory, and a chemistry laboratory with ultrasonic baths, hot rollers for leaching sediment and rock, columns for cation and anion exchange, HF and perchloric acid hoods for acid work, and hoods for target loading.
- Landscape Modeling Laboratory: Dr. Dylan Ward’s laboratory houses several high-end multicore workstations (Mac, Windows, and Linux) and several regular PC workstations. Software environments are configured to develop and run landscape, hydrological, and climate models, and to analyze large and complex model simulation output datasets. Software includes Matlab, C/C++, Fortran, Python, and other scientific programming languages, as well as supporting libraries such as NetCDF and analysis and visualization tools, such as GMT, NCO, ArcGIS 10.1, and other GIS/remote sensing packages. The Landscape Modeling Lab also contains equipment for traditional map and airphoto analysis and geomorphologic field work.
- Luminescence Dating Laboratory: Full sample preparation facilities for luminescence dating are available in this laboratory operated by Dr. Lewis Owen. These include: sieving equipment; heavy liquid separation facilities; and acid treatment equipment. A Riso Automated TL/IRSL/Blue OSL Dating System DA-15C/D will be used to make the OSL measurements. We will use mainly single aliquot regenerative methods for the age calculation (cf. Murray and Wintle, 2000; Spencer and Owen, 2004). A Daybreak alpha counter is also available and will be used to help determine the concentrations of radioisotopes in sediment to help calculate dose rates. The laboratory also has an Ortex MicroNOMAD portable spectroscopy system with Nal detectors and an InSpector 1000 high-performance digital hand-held spectrometer for field dose rate determination.
- Organic Geochemistry Laboratory: Dr. Aaron Diefendorf's laboratory houses an Agilent 7890A gas chromatograph (GC), Agilent 5975C quadrupole mass spectrometer (MS), and flame ionization detector (FID) for the identification and quantification of organic compounds. The GC is equipped with autosampler, multimode injector, and cool on-column injector. The GC/MS also has NIST08 and Wiley Spectral libraries. The laboratory houses a Dionex ASE 350, Turbovap, Organomation N2 evaporator, large muffle furnace, drying oven, centrifuge, flammable material refrigerator and freezer, sonicator bath, pH meter, Mettler-Toledo XS analytical balance, and other smaller equipment for sample extraction and preparation.
- Precambrian Paleobiology Laboratory: Dr. Andrew Czaja’s laboratory is designed for studying the morphology and chemistry of fossil microorganisms, namely fossils of bacteria and cyanobacteria. The lab includes several upright and stereo light microscopes with transmitted light, reflected light, and fluorescence capability, as well as digital cameras for photomicrography. The analytical equipment in the lab includes an Olympus FV1200 confocal laser scanning microscope with 5 visible laser lines (457, 488, 514, 559, and 635 nm) and a Horiba T64000 Raman spectrometer equipped with a 5 volt Coherent Innova 90C FreD Ar+ laser capable of deep UV, soft UV, and visible excitation. The FV1200 provides sub-micron resolution 2-D and 3-D fluorescence images, and is used to visualize fine-scale features of microorganisms to reveal spatial relationships between individuals in a population. The T64000 provides in situ, micron-scale chemical information about the organic remains of the microbes, as well chemical information of the host matrix, and this information can be used to produce 2-D and 3-D chemical images. Combined, the Raman spectra and the 2-D and 3-D optical/chemical images produced by these techniques provide greater amounts of morphological and biochemical information than could be attained by other, more traditional means. Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool that can be applied to essentially any materials for molecular-structural and/or mineralogical characterization.
- Quaternary Core Laboratory: The Quaternary Core Laboratory, directed by Dr. Tom Lowell, has complete facilities for the acquisition and analysis of sediment cores. The core laboratory contains traditional coring equipment (Livingston), a percussion system, and a portable hydraulicassisted corer. Coring systems can be deployed in bogs with custom made tripods or deployed in lakes with a canoe catamaran system or with the Geology Department's 12ft Zodiac and 25hp motor as a support craft or Achilles LEXI-96 inflatable raft. The lab is also equipped with a 10Khz StratBoxTM seismic reflection unit which records water depth and sediment structure. Laboratory facilities include a dedicated core analysis room, the components of which include a core photographic stand, Bartington Magnetic Susceptibility meter, assorted drying ovens, large muffle furnace, grain size can be processed with a Beakman-Coutler LS-230 for sizes 0.4-2000 microns and a carousel attachment allows batch processing. Fossil remains are identified with a Leica S8APO binocular microscope and stored in refrigerated facilities. Cores can be logged with a Corelab Spectral Gamma Core Logger. This automated feed can log the radiation from U, Th, and K. The system is driven by a dedicated computer and housed in its own room with abundant table space.
- Quaternary Paleoecology Laboratory: Dr. Crowley’s laboratory is set up for processing biological remains from plants and animals for isotopic analysis. Equipment includes an analytical balance, microbalance, flammable material refrigerator, -80º C freezer, dental drill, boom mounted trinocular microscope attached to a computer work station, drying oven, centrifuge, microcentrifuge, dry bath, and a freeze drier equipped with a standard drying chamber as well as a centrivap concentrator.
- Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory: This facility has a Thermo Fisher Delta V instrument for measurement of stable isotopes C, N, O, and H using three peripheral devices for sample introduction. Measurements made in this laboratory include carbon and nitrogen isotopes in organic matter (e.g. soils, lake sediments, plant and animal tissues); carbon and hydrogen isotopes of biomarkers; oxygen and hydrogen isotopes of waters; carbon and hydrogen isotopes of atmospheric methane; and carbon and oxygen isotopes of carbonates (e.g. shells, lake marls). This facility was funded by a grant from the Major Research Instrumentation program at the National Science Foundation and from the Ohio Board of Regents to Aaron Diefendorf, Tom Algeo, Brooke Crowley, and Amy Townsend-Small.
- Thermochronology Laboratory: This laboratory operated by Dr. Eva Enkelmann, is fully equipped for conducting fission-track analysis on apatite and zircon. The lab houses all facilities for sample preparation and a motorized Zeiss microscope (AxioImager M2m) equipped with a high-precision 2-axis motorized stage system from Autoscan. The laboratory is equipped with a stereomicroscope that is used for mineral picking and analysis in preparation for U-Th/He dating.
- X-Ray Diffraction and Fluorescence Laboratory: The Department of Geology has a Seimens D-500 x-ray diffractometer and a Rigaku 3070 wavelength dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometer. Major elements and the trace elements Ba, Cr, Co, Cu, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sr, U, Th, V, Y, Zn, and Zr to concentrations in the ppm range are routinely measured. The Department houses a Spex 35-ton X-Press to produce pressed pellets for analysis of major element and a laboratory with chemical supplies, glassware, analytical balance, and all consumables to produce lithium metaborate squashed glass beads for analysis of trace elements.
Additional available facilities
Geology is considered an interdisciplinary field and our faculty as well as undergraduate and undergraduate students collaborate with faculty and utilize research facilities in related departments such as Biology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Physics, and Chemistry. Our departmental also has a great relationship with facilities outside of the University, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science, the Geier Center, and the Hamilton County Park District.