Skip to main content

Our facilities

Researchers in Applied Geology have access to an impressively wide range of state-of-the-art research facilities, equipment and expertise to support world-class research. Many of the available analytical facilities are part of the John de Laeter Centre of Mass Spectrometry.

geology facilities

Analytical Equipment and Facilities

Sensitive High Resolution Ion Microprobe (Shrimp) Facility

Curtin houses two SHRIMP II ion microprobes used for in situ isotopic analysis with a spatial resolution of 5-30 micrometers. Their main use is U-Th-Pb geochronology of accessory phases such as zircon, monazite, baddleyite and xenotime.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

Thermal Ionization Mass Spectometry (TIMS) Facility

The TIMS facility incorporates Thermo Finnegan Triton™ and a VG 354 multicollector mass spectrometers for precise isotopic measurements.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

AGOS - Geohistory Laser Ablation Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) Facility

The Geohistory laser ablation ICPMS facility is part of the John de Laeter Centre for Mass Spectrometry, is funded via the AuScope AGOS EIF program and is housed in the Department of Applied Geology and is used for a variety of in situ isotopic and elemental analyses, including U-Pb dating and trace element analysis of accessory phases.

Facility Leader / contact: Associate Professor Noreen Evans
Physical location: Building 312, Room 116, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Contact Facility Leader
Booking and usage costs: Contact Facility Leader

West Australian Argon Isotope Facility (WAAIF)

The WAAIF Facility utilises the 40Ar/39Ar dating method to measure the age and timing of a large variety of geological processes, from meteorite samples as old as the Earth (4.5 billion years) to the age of historical events such as the Vesivius eruption (79 AD).

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

(U-TH)/He Thermochronology Facility

The CSIRO/JDLC (U-Th)/He Facility provides thermal history analysis of a range of geological systems by integrating several age-dating capabilities along with 4D thermal modeling.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

Ultra-Trace Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectometry

The ACE facility houses a state-of-the-art High Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS, Thermo ELEMENT2) for the analysis of hyper-trace concentrations of elements including rare earth elements (REE) in liquid samples (aqueous samples, acid digestates).

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

X-ray Diffraction (XRD) Facility

This state-of-the-art equipment has the capabilities to measure ion and isotope concentrations at the atomic scale, and is due to be commissioned in 2015.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

Electron Microscopy Facility (EMF)

This facility houses three scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), including a W-filament Zeiss EVO 40XVP, a dual beam Zeiss NEON 40EsB FIB-FESEM, and a state-of-the-art Tescan Mira3 FESEM, and a JEOL JEM2011 transmission electron microscope. The SEM soffer integrated imaging and quantitative characterisation capibilities that include secondary electron imaging, backscatter electron imaging, cathodoluminescence imaging, Oxford Instruments electron backscatter diffraction, transmission kikuchi diffrcaction and energy dispersive x-ray analyses, and focussed ion beam milling.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

Experimental Petrology Laboratory

This Facility is used to conduct petrological experiments at a variety of temperature and pressure conditions.

Technical specifications:Piston Cylinder Apparatus, Autoclaves
Manager / contact: Dr Katy Evans / Dr Kirsten Rempel
Physical location: Building 312, Room 308, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Contact manager
Booking and usage costs: Contact manager

Western Australia Palaeomagnetic and Rock Magnetic Facilty

This facility is used to determine magnetic remanence vectors in rocks for use in geochronology, palaeomagnetic continental reconstructions, and magnetostratigraphy.

Technical specifications:2G 4K-DC-cryogenic magnetometer with automated 2G-600 AF demagnetiser and supplementary equipment
Curtin contacts: Professor Zheng-Xiang Li, Dr. Sergei Pisarevski
Physical location: University of Western Australia
Training requirements: Contact manager
Booking and usage costs: Contact manager

Organic Geochemistry Facility

This facility boasts an array of instruments used for biomarker, petroleum and water studies.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website

Sedimentary Laboratory

The sedimentary laboratory has equipment for analysis of sedimentary rocks.

Manager / contact: Dr. Moyra Wilson
Physical location: Building 312, Room 103, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Contact manager
Booking and usage costs: Contact manager

Other Equipment

The Department of Applied Geology owns several other pieces of equipment that are available to researchers within the department.

Contact: Mr Andrew Wieczorek
Technical Specifications: Desktop scanning electron microscope; Hand-held Gamma Ray Spectrometer (Radiation Solutions Inc. RS-125 super spec GRS); Hand-held Permeameter (TinyPermII); portable petrol-powered rock coring tool.

Computing Facilities

Pawsey Centre/IVEC Supercomputing Facility

The Pawsey Centre is a 1000 square metre purpose-built data centre at the Western Australian Technology Park in Kensington. The facility, situated on land adjacent to the Australian Resources Research Centre. It is owned by CSIRO, managed by iVEC, and is accessible by researchers at Curtin University. Through its location on Curtin University’s Bentley Campus, it enables Curtin’s research community to conveniently have access to a wide range iVEC’s expert staff.

More information: Pawsey Centre website

Seismic Interpretation Facility

We have a suite of high specification seismic interpretation workstations running Petrel, Kingdom and Techlog allowing for the interpretation and visualization of 2D and 3D seismic and well log data, principally for petroleum geoscience research.

Technical specifications:Four powerful, high-RAM workstations. Software: Petrel 2013; Techlog 2013; Kingdom 8.8
Manager / contact: Professor Chris Elders
Physical location: Building 314, Room 168, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Training for using the software can be aranged on an individual user basis. Contact the manager for further details.
Booking and usage costs: The equipment is free to use, but if you would like to make use of it, you must first consult Chris Elders so that projects can be properly set up and computer time allocated.

Support Laboratories and Facilities

Rock and Sample Preparation Laboratories

A range of rock saws are available to suit most geological sample preparation needs.

Technical specifications:Several rock trim saws, LAPRO 24 inch slab saw, Buehler IsoMet 1000 precision saw, jaw crushers, grind wheel, Struers Planopol-V polishing equipment, Buehler Vibromet II colloidal silica polisher, Ultrasonic bath, Emitech K950X evaporative carbon coater.
Manager / contact: Mr Andrew Wieczorek
Physical location: Building 312, Rooms 120B, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Training for using the equipment and laboratory health and safety are provided on an individual user basis. Contact the manager for further details.
Booking and usage costs: No booking required for trained users. A charge of $10 per carbon coat applies to cover lab consumables. No other charges apply.

Mineral Separation Facility (including Selfrag)

Commissioned in 2014, this facility provides full mineral separation and sample preparation services for in situ isotope analysis. It houses the Australian Research Council LIEF-funded Selfrag – an electrical pulse dissagregation system.

Technical specifications:Jaw crusher, disc mill, Selfrag Mk.II electrical pulse dissagregation system, Frantz magnetic separation system, Wilfley table gravity separator, heavy liquid separation equipment, grain mount preparation equipment
Manager / contact: Dr. Tanya Jude-Eton
Physical location: Building 312, Rooms 119 / 117 / 113 / 120c, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Contact manager
Booking and usage costs: Contact manager

Optical Microscopy Facility

This facility comprises petrographic microscopes with photographic and digital imaging systems for characterising rock samples and binocular microscopes for picking mineral grains and preparing samples for chemical analysis.

Technical specifications:Nikon LV100 Pol and Leica DFC290 Digital Imaging Systems, x2 Leica M60 stereo binocular microscopes
Manager / contact: Dr. Nick Timms
Physical location: Building 312, Rooms 113 / 114, Bentley Campus
Training requirements: Training for using the equipment and laboratory health and safety are provided on an individual user basis. Contact the manager for further details.
Booking and usage costs: No booking required for trained users. No charges apply.

Advanced Ultra-clean Environment (ACE) Facility

The Advanced Ultra-Clean Environment (ACE) Facility has been designed to accommodate a new level of ultra-clean sample processing for mass spectrometry.

More information: John de Laeter Centre website