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Facilities Available to Department of Earth Sciences all facilities available

The Department of Earth Sciences (DES) maintains facilities for pursuing a wide range of teaching and research studies.  Some of these facilities are shared with other academic departments or research centers, whereas some are maintained solely by departmental personnel.  The facilities are described below in regard to specific types of studies; however, the interdisciplinary nature of DES creates opportunities for crossing disciplinary boundaries and innovative use of tools.  Creative and useful applications of facilities are encouraged!

Computing

Rock and Sediment Processing

Soil and Sediment Studies

Geochemical Studies

Mineralogical and Petrological Studies

Archaeology Studies

Hydrogeology Studies

Geomorphology Studies

Geophysical Studies

Computing

 

Computing facilities include several labs in Johnson Hall, several labs at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), and research computing facilities operated by individual faculty.

In Johnson Hall, three computer labs are utilized.  The graduate student computer room is maintained in room 221 with approximately 10 desktop computers, 2 digitizing tablet, 2 scanners, a color printer, a black and white laser printer, and 2 large-format printers.  A University-sponsored TAF lab is present in room 219 with 24 state-of-the-art desktop computers equipped with current ArcGIS and ER Mapper remote sensing software.  The Center for Partnerships in Geographic Information Science (CIPGIS) also maintains a lab in Johnson room 217 with several workstations and a large-format printer.

Desktop computers are available for most graduate student offices.  In addition, high-speed computing facilities are maintained through the University's Information Technology division.

 

Rock and Sediment Processing

 
Equipment for cutting, polishing, disaggregating and otherwise processing of rocks and sediments is available in room 2,  J.M. Smith Building.  Both oil and water cooled saws are maintained as are a variety of jaw crushers and a shatterbox.  Grain-size analysis sieves and a vibrating system are also available.  A magnetic separator is available as are thin-section preparation equipment.

Soil and Sediment Studies

 
Facilities for soil and sediment studies are available in room 114 of Johnson Hall and room 129 of J.M. Smith Hall.  The facilities in Johnson Hall are generally for non-chemical treatment of soils and sediments; whereas room 129 is equipped with a hood.  Equipment include muffle furnace for loss-on-ignition analysis, drying ovens, heated and cooled shaking table, ultracentrifuge, Millipore deionized water system, and chemical equipment for pH, electrical conductivity, redox, and bulk geochemical analysis.

Geochemical Studies

 
Facilities for geochemical analysis are maintained in the J.M. Smith building.  A general wet-chemistry lab is maintained in room 127 with equipment for both lab and field geochemical studies, including pH, redox, and specific ion electrode meters, dissolved oxygen meters, two Hach spectrophotometers, Ohaus balance, and a Dionex DX-120 ion chromatography unit.  Atomic absorption spectrometers, with both flame and graphite furnace sources, are shared with the Chemistry Department in room 207.  A low-level boron analysis lab is maintained in room 316, including boron extraction equipment and a spectrophotometer.

Dionex DX-120 Ion Chromatograph

Water sampling on Black Bayou

Mineralogical and Petrological Studies

 
Facilities for mineralogical and petrological studies are available in Johnson, rooms 107 and 108, and J.M. Smith building, rooms 2 and 417.  X-ray diffraction facilities include a motorized mortar and pestle, ball mill, and Sartorius balance for sample preparation and a computer-driven Phillips PW1710 X-ray diffraction unit.  A new Bruker D8 Discovery X-ray diffraction unit is shared with the Physics department.  Petrographic microscopes, including a research grade Olympus microscope with photographic attachment.  An environmental scanning electron microscopeis available through the University's Integrated Microscopy Center.

Old XRD Unit

New XRD Unit!

Archaeology Studies

 

The Clement Archaeology Laboratory has space and equipment for processing and analyzing archaeological materials.  Binocular and materials microscopes are available for analyzing lithic, ceramic, and paleoethnobotanical samples.  Additionally the lab has a network of five computers outfitted with the latest version of ArcGIS, Trimble Pathfinder Office, graphics, and statistical software packages for conducting archaeological spatial analysis research.  Other resources include a regionally oriented book and map library.

Beyond the standard archaeological field equipment, the archaeology program also possesses specialized resources for spatial analysis and geophysical prospecting.  Spatial analysis resources include a Sokkia Total Station theodolite with a TDS data collector running Windows Mobile software, two Trimble Geo Explorer sub-meter capable GPS (Global Positioning System) units, a Trimble GeoXT GPS (decimeter level accuracy) , and a Trimble GPS base station.  Geophysical prospecting instruments include a conductivity meter and a Geometrics 858 cesium magnetometer (available on loan from CERI).

Presently, the archaeology program has two field stations.  Dr. Dye is currently working at the Link Site, a state-owned archaeological park located in west-central Tennessee.  Link is a Mississippian mound and village complex dating to ca. AD 1500.  The field station possesses accommodations for researchers working at Link and the surrounding Tennessee River Valley.  Dr. Mickelson is currently researching temporal changes in prehistoric landuse (ca. 4,000 BC - AD 1000) on the 18,600 acre Ames Plantation Research and Education Center, one of the University of Tennessee's Agricultural Experiment Stations.  Onsite facilities include a cafeteria, dormitory, and field laboratory.

Hydrogeology Studies

 
Facilities for hydrogeologic studies include some that are shared by the DES and the Ground Water Institute(GWI) in the Herff College of Engineering, and others that are maintained by GWI.  Surface-water equipment includes three stream gaging meters and a doppler remote discharge system.   Groundwater equipment includes three varieties of submersible pumps, ranging in capacity from low-discharge sampling to high discharge purging.  Water sampling apparati include bailers and a discrete interval sampler.  Water-quality measurements are available using a YSI 6600, DO-pH-ORP-Cl-NO3-NH4 probe system with both flow-through and submersible options.

 

 

Geomorphology Studies

 
Facilities for geomorphological studies include survey-grade GPS systems, aerial photograph libraries, soil description equipment, a Giddings soil boring rig, and a survey equipment.

Geophysical Studies

 
Facilities for geophysical studies include equipment available through DES and CERI.  Seismic equipment includes three state-of-the-art Geometrics Geode 24-channel seismic recorders.  The Geodes are controlled by software installed on a dedicated field PC. We also have three cables with 24 takeouts at 0.5 m intervals, and about eighty 40 Hz vertical-component geophones. As a source, we routinely use a hammer.  The data are processed with the well-known ProMax software.  Other field equipment includes instruments for resistivity, magnetic and gravity surveys are housed at CERI. For a full list of field equipment available at CERI please see the FDLpage and contact Dr. Mitch Withers.  A field conductivity unit for shallow subsurface studies is also available at DES.


Field Excursions in Earth Sciences (ESCI 4701/6701), 2009, Wetumpka Impact Structure, Alabama



Students conducting detailed discharge measurements in South Dakota during Geology Field Camp, ESCI 4622.


Field projects for Soils and Soil Processes, 2008, ESCI 4122/6122

Field trip to Arkansas - Crowleys Ridge, Structural Geology, 2010, ESCI 3512

Field trip to Arkansas - lunch!, Structural Geology, 2010, ESCI 3512

Field trip to Arkansas - Ouachita Mountains, Structural Geology, 2010, ESCI 3512

Students preparing a paleoseismic trench for field trip at 2011 ESSSA meeting, hosted by the University of Memphis

DES alumnus, Lisa Keyes-Matthews and current DES graduate student at AAG (2011)

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Last Updated: 6/19/13