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Petrology, Geochemistry and Planetary Studies at USF People Current Research


Analytical Equipment
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We maintain a Direct Current Plasma Emission Spectrometer (DCP) as the "workhorse" instrument for the chemical analysis of rocks and other geologically-relevant solids. The DCP is also the instrument we use for the determination of trace-level B, Be, and Li abundances in rocks and fluids - a unique capability not routinely available in any other U.S. laboratory. We maintain two analytical "wet labs": one for the routine dissolution of rock samples for compositional study, via classical fluxed-fusion methods; and another "clean" laboratory maintained as a B, Li and Be - free space, which we use to prepare samples for light element analysis, for ultra-trace element determinations by ICP-MS, and for the preparation of samples for Li and (soon to come!) B isotope ratio determinations.

Also available at USF are tools for the determination of mineralogy and mineral compositions. We maintain a Rigaku tabletop X-ray powder diffractometer for the examination of mineralogical unknowns via powder mount and smear slide methods. We are also well-equipped with research grade petrographic microscopes with both transmitted and reflected light capabilities; an automated heating-freezing stage for fluid inclusion studies; an automated system for thin section photography; and several modern binocular microscopes with photographic capabilities.

The most recent innovation in the USF analytical arsenal is a remotely-operated Electron Microprobe/Scanning Electron Microscope (EMPA/SEM) system. The instruments, a state-of-the-art JEOL SuperProbe, and a JEOL 5900-series SEM, are housed at Florida International University in the Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) , and were obtained via a collaborative NSF grant for the use of geoscience faculty at all the major Florida universities. The system is run from desktop computers via an Internet 2 high data density connection, and provides full, real-time optical and backscatter graphics, as well as the full spectrum of quantitative micro-analysis options. We are currently establishing a sample preparation lab for probe-SEM work in the Geology Department currently.