Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Research Facilities

Our department is housed in the Brehm Laboratory building on Wright State University Dayton campus. The research laboratories in the Department are mostly located on the second floor of the Brehm Laboratory building which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation (completed in August, 2007), which both updated and expanded our laboratory facilities. Further, the Department also maintains a Field Services Building on campus that houses a wide variety of specialized field equipment, as listed below.

On this page:

Multi-User Environmental Analytical Facility

This facility houses instruments that provide chemical analyses of environmental samples. It is supported by the College of Science and Mathematics through two dedicated technicians. The facility is used by faculty and students in several departments including the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  It is currently home to the following instruments:

  • PerkinElmer flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer and autosampler
  • Teledyne Tekmar total carbon and nitrogen analyzer with solid- and aqueous-phase sample introduction and autosampler

Applied Geophysics Laboratory

This facility has a variety of equipment for acquisition of geophysical data (seismic, gravity, magentic, ground penetrating radar, etc.) in the field, as well as a sophisticated suite of software for seismic data processing and analysis in the laboratory, which includes:

  • 120-channel truck-mounted seismic reflection recording system
  • 36-channel Strataview(TM) portable seismic recording system
  • Portable seismic refraction system (12-channel)
  • Bison (TM, Bison) Elastic Wave Generator
  • Geophysical Workstation for seismic modeling
  • Sun SPARCstation for seismic data processing
  • ProMAX (TM, Landmark) interactive seismic reflection processing system
  • Schlumberger Eclipse and Petrel reservoir modeling and visualization software systems
  • Three gravity meters (LaCoste-Romberg and Worden)
  • Magnetic gradiometer system
  • Ground Penetrating Radar system
  • Resistivity meter
  • Global Positioning System (differential)

Hydrogeochemistry Laboratory

This facility focuses on the chemical analysis of natural waters from lakes, wetlands, and ground water. Equipment in this lab includes:

  • Dionex Ion Chromatographs (ICS-2000 Reagent-Free Integrated IC System, with autosampler) for the analysis of anions and cations
  • A HACH Spectrophotometer (Model DR 5000 UV-Vis)
  • YSI multiparameter stations (Model 556 MPS), and several portable meters and YSI probes.
  • A Light Isotope preparation facility to support our ongoing project on the carbon isotope fractionation in lake water.

Hydrogeology Laboratory

This "laboratory" represents diverse field equipment for drilling, sampling, and logging of geochemical parameters and aquifer properties in the subsurface. Field equipment is augmented by an extensive library of software for geospatial data analysis and modeling ground-water flow and contaminant transport. The Sycamore Farm Experimental Watershed and the Beavercreek Wetlands are used as field laboratories for research and teaching.


Trace Metal Biogeochemistry Laboratory

This facility includes multipurpose research space as well as a state-of-the-art Class 100 clean lab for trace-metal studies.  The laboratory is equipped with:

  • Multiple polypropylene hoods (fume and laminar flow)
  • A MilliQ Elix and Element water purification system
  • Mettler-Toledo analytical and top-loading balances
  • Sorvall T1 centrifuge
  • Tekran 2500 mercury detectors with custom flow-injection systems for analysis of total mercury and methylmercury
  • VirTis 7-L benchtop freeze drier
  • Teflon impingers, water sampling bottles, filtration systems, and digestion vessels
  • Elan 9000 inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) for trace metal analysis.

Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory

This facility is dedicated to the analysis of organic and inorganic chemical species in environmental (soil and water) matrices. This lab is focused on studies related to measurements of groundwater pollutants by anthropogenic organic compounds, and bench scale investigations of treatment techniques. The analytical equipment availbale for research include:

  • Gas chromatograph (Hewlett-Packard Model 6890) with autosampler (HP Model 7630), and Flame Ionization & Electron Capture detectors, controlled by HP Chemstation software; equipment configured for quantification of trace-levels of volatile, chlorinated and other hydrocarbons in environmental (aqueous and soil) samples; both detectors simultaneously analyze for greater confidence and resolution at trace level. A Tekmar Velocity Purge and Trap unit with an autosampler added in 2006 to improve the detection level of volatile organics.
  • Reagent-Free Modular Ion Chromatograph System, with autosampler (Dionex ICS-2500) with conducvity detectors, full automation capability with PC based software (Chromeleon). This equipment was acquired in August 2005, configured to analyze both anions and cations.
  • Reduction Gas Analyzer (Trace Analytical Model RGD-32) for trace level monitoring of gases by an isothermal gas chromatograph configured with a Reduction Gas Detector (RGD) with sensitivity down to low ppb levels, and negligible matrix effects from permanent gases.
  • Other equipment in the lab include a HPLC System & Dynamax UV Absorbance Detectors (Rainin-Varian), a new Perkin-Elmer UV-Vis Spectrophotometer (Lambda 45) in 2007, a Plas-Labs Glove Box, walk-in and regular fume hoods, sonicators, centrifuges, Barnstead nanopure DI water system, YSI multiparameter sonde (Model 556 MPS), several portable and high-end benchtop meters, and a student computing area with 4 PCs and a network printer
  • Field research site at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base include a experimental treatment wetland created and designed to study the biodegradation of chlorinated ethenes at pilot scale.

Sedimentological and Petrographic Laboratory

The preparation and analysis of soft-sediment and hard-rock samples are carried out in this facility, and the equipment include the following.

  • Zeiss petrographic microscopes
  • Nuclide Cathodoluminescence luminoscope
  • Interactive video-computer microscope system
  • UV luminescence equipment
  • Complete Logitech thin-section and rock preparation facility
  • Sedimentological laboratory
  • Photographic equipment and darkroom
  • Mineral separation facilities
  • Facilities for chemical analysis of rock samples

General Support

Research and academic activities at the graduate and the undergraduate levels are supported by a fleet of vehicles and field equipment, including a drilling rig, all maintained by a dedicated technician. A Geographic Information System laboratory is available through collaboration with the Department of Geography. Computer resources provided by the university are located across campus, including PC and Mac classroom/laboratories, as well as access to the Ohio Supercomputer Center.


Library Facility on Campus

The Paul Laurence Dunbar Library, one of the University Libraries, has significant holdings in the geological sciences, including a large collection of U.S. Geological Survey documents and maps. The library houses 640,000 books and 4300 periodicals. The University Libraries participate in the Federal Depository Library Program, the state of Ohio Depository Program, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Program. The collections include extensive holdings of U.S. Geological Survey documents and maps. The Libraries' website provides access to these resources as well as to the Central Catalog of OhioLINK, a consortium of 78 Ohio college and university libraries. Over 100 databases, including GeoRef and Science Citation Index Expanded, and thousands of electronic journals are also available at the Libraries' website.