Microscopy and Fluid Inclusion Laboratory
The Microscopy and Fluid Inclusion Laboratory within the Center for Mineral Resources Science and the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering offers a range of state-of-the-art analytical capabilities that are used for imaging and analysis of geological materials at the microscopic scale. This includes petrographic microscopes that can be used to inspect thin and thick sections in transmitted and reflected light as well as a hot-stage optical cathodoluminescence microscope that is used to observe the luminescence of minerals during electron bombardment. The laboratory is also equipped with instrumentation that allows the petrographic analysis of fluid inclusions and microthermometric measurements.
The laboratory focuses on a wide range of geoscience applications, ranging from fundamental geology and planetary sciences to ore deposit studies and energy research. Ongoing research projects in economic geology focus on porphyry systems, epithermal deposits, orogenic gold deposits, and volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits. Research within the laboratory also aims at better the evolution of sedimentary basins, which assists energy companies in reducing the risk of oil and gas exploration.
The Microscopy and Fluid Inclusion Laboratory was established in 2010 through a generous donation by Chevron Corporation, allowing acquisition of the optical cathodoluminescence microscope. Over the past decade, several additional microscopes have been added. The laboratory serves the Mines community, researchers from state or federal research agencies, and members from the minerals, materials, energy, and environmental industries. The instrumentation is also used for teaching in a number of regularly scheduled courses taught to undergraduate students in geological engineering and graduate students in geology.