Ken MacLeod


Student Opportunities

Laboratory Facilities
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Missouri-Columbia

Aqueous Geochemistry Laboratory. The lab currently houses a coulometric system with acid-extraction and total-combustion modules for determinations of total organic and inorganic C, two automated titration systems, extraction lines for the analysis of reduced S (concentrations and isotopic compositions), a UV-visible spectrophotometer, an ion chromatograph and a new water system. Through combined funds from NSF and MU, an inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometer (ICP) was recently purchased for the geochemistry laboratory. This instrument is now fully operational and is maintained by a technician with over a decade of ICP experience.

Geomicrobiology Laboratory. The lab now has capability to: a) grow anaerobic bacteria, b) prepare anaerobic medium, and c) analyze bacterial abundance and activities. Equipment includes: a) a Coy anaerobic chamber, b) a gassing station for preparing anaerobic medium, c) several incubators and water baths, d) a laminar flow hood for microbial analysis, and e) a portable autoclave. A modern and sophisticated bioreactor will be purchased in the near future for growing bacteria in continuous cultures.

Indiana-Missouri-Illinois Sulfur Isotope Facility. Recent combined funding from NSF and the universities of Indiana, Missouri and Illinois has been used to purchase a Finnigan 252 isotope ratio mass spectrometer. This instrument, housed at Indiana University, is dedicated to the high-precision isotopic measurement of sulfur in small samples generated, in part, via an on-line elemental analyzer and newly purchased laser system. Researchers at MU are entitled to free analyses using the new mass spectrometer or any other analytical facilities housed in the Biogeochemical Laboratories at Indiana University.

Organic Geochemistry Lab. Carlo Erba elemental analyzer and gas chromatograph. The elemental analyzer is equipped for both on- and off-line preparation of samples for isotopic analysis.

Paleontology Prep (small sample separation/preparation facility). A room dedicated to the preparation of microfossil samples and separation of other sedimentary components is available. This lab space maximizes the chance of isolating clean separates for taxonomic and geochemical studies. The room is designed to support a variety mechanical separation techniques as well as facilities to examine the materials isolated. Acid digestions and rock crushing are housed in a separate room.

Scanning Electron Microscope Laboratory. This facility contains both analytical and teaching grade electron microscopes-an AMRAY-1600T and an AMRAY-1200C, respectively. The 1600T incorporates digital imaging and X-ray microanalysis for chemical mapping and quantitative analysis of minerals using a backscattered electron detector and both energy-dispersive and wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectrometers. The facility includes a computer lab for data processing and image analysis that is networked through the department's computer facilities.

Biogeochemistry Isotope Laboratory. The lab houses two Finnigan Delta-Plus gas source mass spectrometers purchased using funds from NSF-EAR and campus matching contributions. One instrument, a Delta-Plus XL, is dedicated to continuous flow applications. Samples are introduced on-line via gas chromatography, a Carlo Erba elemental analyzer, or a second elemental analyzer for high temperature pyrolysis (TC-EA). The latter expands the range of on-line capabilities to include such things as measurements of oxygen isotopes in sulfates and phosphates. The second mass spectrometer, a Delta-Plus with a dual inlet, is used mostly for automated C and O isotope analysis of small carbonate samples prepared via individual acidification in a Kiel III carbonate device. Collectively, these mass spectrometers and peripherals are used routinely for analyses of C, O, H and N isotopes. A technician assists with daily operations of the lab. The lab also houses vacuum lines for off-line preparation of carbonates, silicates, sulfides, sulfates, hydrous minerals and waters and a computerized micro-milling apparatus with micron-scale, 3-dimensional resolution is being installed.

Collectively, these instruments provide the ability to accurately and precisely measure isotopes of C, O, H and/or N in a wide variety of samples with high sample throughput.

X-Ray Diffraction and Differential Thermal Analytical Laboratory. This facility consists of a state-of-the-art Scintag PAD V automated, microprocessor-controlled x-ray powder diffractometer, a Perkin-Elmer automated, microprocessor-controlled high-temperature differential thermal analytical system, a computer laboratory, and a sample preparation laboratory. The diffractometer, with Cu Ka x-ray source and Ge solid state, cryogenic detector, provides high resolution x-ray diffraction patterns. The differential thermal analyzer, with temperature programming controller and data station, provides high resolution DTA spectrum. The computer laboratory, with PC, Mac, and VAX stations linked to University Network, provides XRD and DTA pattern processing for qualitative and quantitative analysis. The sample preparation laboratory is equipped with a ultrasonicator, two high-speed centrifuges, two furnace ovens, and other common equipment. The facility has been maintained through continuous upgrading as a first-rate analytical facility and used as both research and teaching laboratory. The laboratory is currently certified under Good Laboratory Procedures.

Additional equipment for Biogeochemistry and Paleoenvironmental Studies. Two Technosyn luminoscopes. A trace-element clean laboratory is available for sample preparation. Two full-time technicians operate the SEM facility and maintain the X-ray fluorescence and diffractometer facilities. A brand new Laser Particle Counter which provide automatic analysis of particles in the range of 100 to 2 mm.

Elsewhere on campus, the MU Research Reactor recently installed a high-resolution inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). This is a single collector (Axiom SC) unit with a magnetic sector, double focusing spectrometer. The ICP-MS lab is equipped with a UV MicroProbe II laser ablation system. The research reactor also houses a fully automated system for neutron activation analysis and a new x-ray fluorescence facility. There is also a large support staff. These instruments are used routinely by members of the Department of Geological Sciences.

Geology Library

Geology Museum
Among the more than 100,000 specimens in the museum are: the invertebrate collections, which are rich in fossils of Devonian, Mississippian and Pennsylvanian rocks of Missouri and the midcontinent; the vertebrate collections, largely of Pleistocene mammals; the collection of conodonts, the most varied and complete of its kind in the world; the collections of fossil Charophytes, representing all known localities in North America and containing reference material from South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The paleontologic collections of the Missouri Geological Survey also are located in the museum.

The mineral collections contain one of the most complete aggregates of materials from the famous Crestmore locality in California, many of them in crystal form; one of the finest collections of boron minerals in this country, a fine set of garnets, and many excellent crystals from the lead and zinc mines of southwest and southeast Missouri. Clay mineral collections contain a complete set of APA reference clay minerals, as well as type clay materials from most of the important clay deposits of the world.

More than 1,800 species are represented in the Dana Collection. The DeMuth Collection contains fine specimens of polished fossil woods. For more information call (573) 882-6785.

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last revised: winter 2010
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