UCL Earth Sciences


Environmental Sedimentology Facility

Telephone Extension:
Laboratory ManagerGraham Shields

The Environmental Sedimentology lab houses a XRF core scanner and multi-sensor core logger. There are two chest-fridges for temporary storage of cores up to a length of 1.6 m. and bench space for sample preparation and core photography

Avaatech XRF-scanner

The scanner uses standard XRF-technology to measure elemental abundances on split sediment cores without the need for sample preparation. It is designed to allow fast analysis of long and continuous records: it typically takes ~2 hours to scan 1 m of core at 1 cm resolution for a standard suite of elements. The trade-off is that results are semi-quantitative, because variation in water content and/or porosity is not accounted for. However, results can be calibrated through analysis of a limited set of discrete samples using standard XRF or ICP-MS. The XRF-scanner can detect elements ranging from Al through to U, the stratigraphic resolution can be adjusted from 1 mm to 1 cm. The detection limit varies between elements, ranging from 1% for Al to ppm-levels for elements higher in the periodic table.

Geotek Multi-Sensor Core logger

The core-logger is used to collect a suite of geophysical measurements on both whole-round and split cores. Our MSCL is equipped to measure gamma ray attenuation (GRAPE), which provides an estimate for density/porosity of the sediment, P-wave velocities, electrical resistivity, and magnetic susceptibility.

The FlashEA can measure the abundance of organic elements in samples as small as 0.01 mg depending on the type of material. It is routinely set up for analysis of C and N in sediment samples, but can be reconfigured for CHNS-O or any combination of those elements.