The Geology Program has purchased a hand-held X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument for reading the chemistry of rocks, soils, or other solid materials in-situ or using samples prepared in the laboratory. The purchase was made possible by a $42,000 donation from the Lafayette Geological Society.
“The XRF instrument will give our students and faculty another great tool for doing research” says David Borrok, Director of the School of Geosciences. Applications for the instrument range from the analysis of rock core and cuttings for petroleum exploration to the evaluation of polluted soils and sediments. “These instruments are also frequently used in paleontology, archeology, and in the analysis of manufactured materials”, adds Borrok.
Dr. Rajith Mukundan in the Environmental Science program is using the instrument for one of his projects. He says, “The XRF offers a rapid, nondestructive method for analysis of soils and sediments that I can use for my stream sediment source fingerprinting (tracing) studies”. Dr. Tim Duex in Geology plans on using the instrument as part of his mineralogy course. “The XRF can help with mineral identification and will teach students about the different elemental compositions of minerals”, says Tim.