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Research Labs

Soils and Geomorphology Laboratory:

This facility provides the ability to conduct most standard soil and sediment analyses and is fully equipped with ovens; muffle furnaces; electronic balances; sonic and conventional sieve systems; fume hoods; R-O and de-ionized water systems; freezing, refrigerated, and room-temperature sample and core storage; Bartington magnetic susceptibility systems for core, sample, and field measurement; and a Malvern Mastersizer 2000 for high-precision particle size measurement. In addition, the facility has areas for preparation of samples (e.g., soil, bone, plant tissue) for stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating.

Director: William C. Johnson.

Palynology Laboratory:

This facility, created in 1981, is equipped to extract and analyze pollen and biogenic opal from an array of sedimentary environments and houses an extensive reference collection. Using these approaches, wide arrays of vegetative histories and paleoenvironments are reconstructed. Another specialty is reconstruction of prehistoric plant subsistence, which has been carried out in localities within the Great Plains, American Southwest, Central America and the Amazon Basin. For example, microfossil research in Mesoamerica focuses on intensive sustainable horticulture of the ancient Maya.

Palynologist and phytolith analyst: Steven Bozarth, Ph.D.

Pedology Lab:

This laboratory houses instruments which are used to prepare and analyze samples for standard chemical, physical, mineralogical, and pedological analyses such as exchangeable ion determination, cation exchange capacity, calcium carbonate equivalent, X-ray diffraction (preparation only), water-retention curve determination, micromorphological analyses (preparation only), and color analyses (Konica Minolta VIS-reflectance spectrophotometer). The facility is fully equipped with fume hoods, balances, a centrifuge, refrigerator, freezer, and oven. This laboratory contains a fully automated, 1994 version TJA IRIS-ICP Optical Emission Spectrometer (OES) for analyzing soil water and cation exchange extracts and a UIC TC/TIC/TOC coulometric analyzer which measures total C on powdered soils and sediments by combustion, inorganic C by acidification, and organic C by difference. This laboratory is equipped with a hanging column for measuring water retention at low suctions (0 to -9.8 kPa) and a pressure plate apparatus for measuring retention at high suctions (-10 to -1500 kPa). In addition, this laboratory is equipped with the NextEngine 3D multistripe laser triangulation (MLT) scanner used to scan soil excavations walls (the scanner is field portable), soil structures, and casts of biogenic structures. This facility also houses the Dimension UPrint 3D printer, which can fabricate stereolithography (.stl) files in ABS plastic at a resolution of 250µm. Software for this laboratory includes ScanStudio which is used to run the MLT scanner, RapidWorks (Auto-CAD software) for analyzing, manipulating and cleaning the virtual models and converting them to .stl files for 3D printing, and Adobe Acrobat Pro Extended for converting the files to an interactive .pdf form.

Director: Daniel Hirmas.

 


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