Facilities for students

Alongside our fully equipped teaching lab we have:

Microscopy lab

Powerful light microscopes, electron microscopes for very high magnification and compositional analysis, and micro-FTIR system that analyses the compositions of samples underneath a microscope at very small sales. This is particularly useful for measuring microplastic pollution – an area of considerable international interest and concern at the present time.

Geochemical lab

For studying the character and composition of organic matter (soils, plants, fossils) and the analysis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. We use this lab to investigate climate change (both modern and in the distant past) and the functioning of the carbon and nitrogen cycles. We have even used this equipment to test techniques for use on future Mars rovers.

Geochronology lab

'Luminescence dating' allows us to measure the time since grains of sand were last exposed to sunlight. Applied to sediments in the landscape, we can use this to estimate the age of landforms, rates of sediment transport/landscape change and the response of landscapes to climate change.

Flume system

Simulates processes in rivers and helps us to understand mechanisms of sediment transport in the landscape and in rivers.

Terrestrial laser scanning system

This lets us make high-resolution 3D scans of any aspect of the natural landscape or built environment. We can use it to monitor change through time at very fine scales (e.g. how patterns of sediment in a riverbed change between floods) or to quantify the size and shape of complex features (e.g. how much wood or carbon is in a tree?).

Micro-fossil lab

We can extract pollen and other microscopic fossils from rocks and sediments. Identifying these helps us reconstruct past environmental and ecological changes and the effects of human disturbance to ecosystems through time.

Newly refurbished Student Study Area

Computers, sofas, and areas to work alone or with others.