International Ocean Discovery Program


The European Petrophysics Consortium (EPC) owns a range of scientific apparatus relating to the measurement of rock physical properties; primarily used during offshore and onshore phases of IODP expeditions. Data for rock density, natural gamma emission, P-wave velocity, magnetic susceptibility, thermal conductivity, and electrical resistivity can be acquired on whole or split core and a sub-set on discrete samples as well.

Containerized Petrophysics Laboratory

This forms the primary facility provided by EPC, representing a customisable combination of equipment, software and an operator with all the necessary expertise. The 20 ft. container has formed an integral part of all IODP MSP Expeditions since 2005, independently providing the ability to measure all ephemeral physical properties on recovered core. The container has also sailed on numerous non-IODP cruises. Newly refurbished in 2015, the laboratory now has more space for core and the facility to house both the Geotek MSCL-S and Geotek MSCL-Fast.

For more information about the containerized petrophysics laboratory please contact

Multi-Sensor Core Logger (MSCL)

The MSCL provided by Leicester offers high resolution whole-core logging data including gamma density, P-wave velocity, non-contact resistivity, magnetic susceptibility and natural gamma radiation, as well as temperature and core diameter. The MSCL offers a non-destructive mode of measurement on a fully automated system.

The MSCL has five primary measurement sensors mounted on an automated track that sequentially measure gamma density (1), P-wave velocity (2), non-contact electrical resistivity (3), magnetic susceptibility (4) and natural gamma radiation (5). Optimal measurements for all sensors require a completely filled core liner and for P-wave velocity and gamma density measurements fully water-saturated cores.

To provide high resolution data during Mission Specific Platform (MSP) expeditions a down-core measurement sampling interval of 1 cm for all sensors is typically used. A full calibration of the MSCL sensors is conducted every time the system is restarted or when calibration checks reveal unacceptable departures from the full calibration values. Leicester's MSCL is in a containerised laboratory allowing measurements to be taken offshore immediately after cores are recovered.

Measurements are normally conducted on whole cores, but there is the capability to measure split cores. The MSCL has been used on the following IODP expeditions:

Multi-Sensor Core Logger for multiple sections (MSCL-XYZ)

Leicester's MSCL-XYZ is fitted with a natural gamma radiation (NGR) spectrometer and allows the logging of up to 6 core sections in a single operation. This is an important asset in a space-limited core repository environment, or where a large through-put of core is required due to time constraints.

The MSCL-XYZ has been used on all Mission Specific Platform expeditions that require it, e.g:

Learn more about the MSCL-XYZ.

Discrete P-wave Multi-Sensor Core Logger (MSCL-DPW)

The MSCL-DPW is used to measure P-wave velocities of consolidated or lithified core sub-samples that can be either cubic or cylindrical in shape. The equipment consists of a mechanical section containing the transducers (between which the sample is placed), a set of electronics and a PC.

This equipment was used to measure samples from:

Learn more about the MSCL-DPW.

Multi-Sensor Core Logger "Fast Track"

This MSCL comprises a dual magnetic susceptibility system, the “fast-track” MSCL, or MSCL-fast. This system was adopted to run cores immediately after curation to facilitate timely and rapid data acquisition, principally for stratigraphic correlation but also to ensure measurement of material that needs to be sampled immediately.

The system has been housed in the containerised laboratory with the MSCL-S but has also been set-up within a ship’s laboratory space; being utilised on IODP Expeditions:

TK04 Thermal Conductivity Probes

Thermal conductivity is a basic physical property of rocks and fluids depending on chemical composition, porosity, density, structure and fabric of the material. In marine geophysics, thermal conductivity profiles of sediment and rock sections are used along with temperature measurements in boreholes to determine heat flow. Heat flow is not only characteristic of the material, but an indicator of type and age of ocean crust and fluid flow processes.

The TK04 determines thermal conductivity based on the transient heat flow method and consists of a unit for measuring and heating, probes and glass-ceramic Macor standards (Picture 1). During measurement a line source is heated with a constant power and source temperature is recorded simultaneously. Thermal conductivity is calculated from the resulting heating curve.

This benchtop system has been used to measure cores and samples at the onshore science parties of expeditions:

TK04 (TeKa, Berlin) Thermal Conductivity tool is hosted by the EPC team at the University of Leicester– please contact us for more information at

Learn more about the TK04 Thermal Conductivity tool.

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