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Departments & Programs


Shared Analytical Facilities

Research Facilities

Our researchers have access to a wide variety of laboratories and equipment, either within our department or in associated departments. The links below will take you to the labs where GES students and faculty are working to solve real-world problems.

Cosmogenic Radionuclide Facility

The Cosmogenic Radionuclide Target Preparation Facility for 26Al and 10Be. This laboratory is housed in the basement of the Mitchell Building on campus, and is administered by Bodo Bookhagen. We anticipate a wide variety of applications for this facility, including erosion rate measurements, surface age estimations, and constraining cosmogenic radionuclide production rates in high-altitude areas. We are open to collaborations with other projects wishing to perform in situ cosmogenic radionuclide measurements.

Electron Microprobe Laboratory

Image-Analysis System
The JEOL JXA-733A Superprobe is fitted with 5 wavelength-dispersive spectrometers and a Be-window SiLi energy dispersive detector. The instrument is fully automated by Advanced Microbeam hardware and PROBE-PRBSE microanalysis and digital imaging software. Our lab has more than 100 standard reference materials for quantitative bulk or thin film analysis. Quantitative analysis of bulk specimens is performed using the CITZAF matrix correction algorithms incorporated into the PROBE software. Thin film analysis is performed using STRATA.

Please contact Bob Jones if you would like more information about this facility.


The ICPMS/TIMS Facility within Stanford University's School of Earth Sciences, also known as the Plasma Lab, is a state-of-the-art facility for the analysis of isotopes and trace elements using mass spectrometry.

Geographical Information Systems Laboratory

GIS Packages and Geospatial Data
A Geographical Information Systems (GIS) lab is maintained in Branner Library, and is available for students and researchers. This includes GIS hardware, software and data sets as well as technical support and consultations.

Fission Track Laboratory

Fission track thermochronology is a geochronologic method that yields the time when rock rose through the 2 to 5 km depth window or ~80°-120°C (for the mineral apatite). This low-temperature thermochronometer allows us to collect data at the regional scale to study uplift, mountain building and erosion or on detailed scales to understand the slip history of faults in the brittle crust. The best studies utilizing low temperature thermochronology involve careful integration of field-based mapping, structural studies and balanced cross-sections with laboratory-collected thermochronology data. (U-Th)/He thermochonology is a more recently developed and highly complimentary method for dating exhumation from even shallower depths (~40-85°C) intervals. The (U-Th)/He laboratory resides in our Noble Gas Laboratory. The two methods paired together provide a powerful means of solving many tectonic questions about the P-T path of the upper 10 km of the crust.

Environmental Isotope Geochemistry Facility

Isotope Geochemistry
Stanford ICP-MS Facility is a new ICP-MS laboratory that will feature two magnetic sector ICP-MS instruments, one single-collector and one multi-collector. One instrument will be optimized for high-sensitivity concentration work and the other for high-precision isotope work. In addition, we will be adding new clean lab space to the existing infrastructure to provide space for students and researchers who wish to use the ICP-MS facility.

Mineral Separation Facilities

Our mineral separation and sample preparation facilities, intended primarily for Stanford faculty, staff, students and visitors include rock saws, rock crushers, rock grinders, Gemeni table, sieves, Ro-tap, drying ovens, fume hoods, Frantz electrodynamic separators, LMT and MEI apparatus (heavy liquid density separations), binocular microscopes, etc.

The Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory

Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (SIBL) located in the
Mitchell Earth Sciences Building on the campus of Stanford University. The SIBL is managed by Dr. Peter Blisniuk, and is equipped with two mass spectrometers for processing of both organic and inorganic samples and determination of their isotopic values of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon.

Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonace (NMR) Laboratory

The Stebbins group operates two NMR spectrometers dedicated to solid-state studies of geological and technological materials, with wide-bore 9.4 Tesla (400 MHz) and 14.1 T (600 MHz) magnets and fully-equipped three-channel spectrometers. A full range of probes is available, including capabilities of reaching 700 C with MAS and 1500 C with static samples. Also available are solids probe for the SMRL 800 MHz NMR.

Stanford Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (SMRL)

SMRL is a research facility within the Stanford University School of Medicine. The goal of this facility is to provide research instrumentation and expertise in the area of solution-phase, high resolution NMR spectroscopy. 800, 600, and 500 MHz spectrometers are available to qualified users.

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL)

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, a division of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is operated by Stanford University for the Department of Energy. SSRL is a national user facility which provides synchrotron radiation, a name given to x-rays or light produced by electrons circulating in a storage ring at nearly the speed of light. These extremely bright x-rays can be used to investigate various forms of matter ranging from objects of atomic and molecular size to man-made materials with unusual properties. The obtained information and knowledge is of great value to society, with impact in areas such as the environment, future technologies, health, and education.

Stanford/USGS SHRIMP-RG Laboratory

Sensitive High Resolution Ion Micro Probe Reverse Geometry
The SHRIMP RG is at Stanford University as a result of a partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey and Stanford University School of Earth Sciences. The laboratory is run for the mutual benefit of the two parties with cost and analytical time being shared. The laboratory is also available to outside visitors on a cost recovery basis as time allows.