Geology Program

Geology Program: Laboratories and Specialized Equipment

The Geology program maintains several laboratories and pieces of specialized equipment:

  • Rock Preparation Laboratory (Room 205 Johnson EPS) houses sediment sieving shakers and sieves, equipment for cutting, grinding, and polishing rocks for the preparation of thin sections, lapidary wheels for polishing slides, fume hood with acid digestion capabilities, bulk rock sample bins, and wet lab.
  • Analytical Laboratory (Room 205A Johnson EPS) houses Olympus and Nikon research petrographic microscopes for student and faculty research, a Horiba XGT-7000 X-ray analytical microscope, and 3-D imaging computer workstation.
  • Petrography Laboratory (Room 228 Johnson EPS) houses over fifteen Meiji and Nikon polarizing microscopes, several having reflected-light and video capture and display capabilities along with numerous binocular dissecting microscopes. This lab has an Em-River stream table for modeling surface water flow.
  • Paleontology Laboratory (Room 203 Johnson EPS) which consists the bulk of the departments collection of fossils with well over a million specimens for study, including invertebrates, vertebrates, plants, trace fossils, and microfossils. The UTM collection (which includes the named Vanderbilt Fossil Collection, R.C. Donaldson Collection, Stone Trilobite Collection, Hammons Fossil Collection, one of the largest in Tennessee, includes fossils from Belize, the Bahamas, Russia, Africa, Europe, Libya, Egypt, Japan, Antarctica, the southeastern US, most areas of Tennessee, and many other locations. The collection spans the geologic time column from Canadian stromatolites, over 1 billion years old to Pleistocene land snails from Samburg, Tennessee and modern marine organism specimens from the coasts along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas for student comparison. The Silurian and Devonian collection alone contains nearly 5000 specimens. The Coon Creek Collection is the largest in Tennessee. The Eocene plant collection is second in size only to the Florida Natural History Museum Collection. Other equipment in the lab includes an Olympus binocular microscope with digital imaging capturing capabilities.
  • Paleontology Preparation Lab (Bldg. 8 of Agriculture Farm) houses the department’s collections of drill core, Gulf of Mexico Pleistocene sea floor rocks, and serves as the preparation and study laboratory for oversize rocks and fossils. The lab has a large air abrasive machine and specimen photography facilities.

The UTM campus has two earthquake seismometers including a broadband earthquake monitoring station for the Cooperative New Madrid Seismic Network operated by St. Louis University. The UTM seismic stations are acceptable via the internet.