1. Sample collection, preparation and storage
  2. Analytical laboratory services
  3. External analytical facility contacts
  4. Microscopy
  5. Lapidary/rock saws
  6. Laboratory safety

Sample collection, preparation and storage

Equipment for soil, sediment and water sample collection
The School of Geosciences maintains an extensive inventory of equipment to assist in the collection of samples in the field. This includes hand augers, sediment grabs, soil and sediment coring equipment, water pumps, geological hammers, dredges, autosamplers, data collection and logging, boating and remote location resources.

Cold storage
A large coolroom for sensitive sample storage is available. There is space for short/medium term storage for large cores, water and sediment samples, preservation of heritage samples. Numerous refrigerators are available for local storage of working samples, and there are 2 medium capacity freezers where < 0°C storage is required.

Sample preparation
There is space and equipment available for any cleaning, core splitting and cutting, freezing and freeze-drying and other preparatory work required after sample collection. Consult for further information.

Rock collection
The School is the custodian of an extensive rock collection in the basement of the Madsen building. Rock, sediment and core samples from projects conducted through the School over its history can be found here.

Analytical laboratory services

Grain size analysis
The School offers several approaches to grain size analysis.
The Malvern MS2000 Mastersizer offers a state of the art technique for the measurement of particles ranging from 0.2 um to 2000 um. Enquire through the for information regarding training and pricing.
A large collection of 300 mm metallic sieves along with mechanical sieving stacks are available as well as a variety of non-metallic screen meshes for wet sieving preparations.
The School is working towards a fully functional settling column used for assessing particle size through settling rates.
Each of these techniques are amenable for inclusion into laboratory studies and classes where relevant.

Elemental analysis
The School of Geosciences is the gateway to the University of Sydney’s sole Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICPOES) facility. Established in 1999, and recently upgraded to the latest model, this facility is available for use across the University and beyond. The instrument specialises in the detection of trace elements and we can provide some advice towards sample preparation.
The School also has a UV-Vis spectrophotometer (Merck) for the analysis of nutrients specifically in the area of water quality.
For pricing, training and availability for these resources please consult the .

Chemical preparation and method development
In the laboratories we can provide substantial experience and resources for a large array of chemical techniques and information. This includes advice on procurement of chemicals and specialised laboratory equipment, chemical safety and waste disposal, standard methodology, design of experiments, laboratory hygiene and access to external resources.

Specialist laboratory equipment
The number of laboratories located in the School contain a large variety of specialised laboratory equipment available for incorporation into teaching and research activities. This equipment includes laboratory ovens and furnaces, freeze drier, digestion blocks, specialised glassware, high purity water, hotplates, balances and physical parameter measurement.

Palynology and radiolarian micropalaeontology laboratories
Limited access facilities are available for preparations involving hazardous substances and other activities of a higher risk nature.

External analytical facility contacts

Through the Schools contacts with external research and analytical organisations we can provide advice and links to numerous facilities and techniques otherwise outside of our ability to provide. These include:

Australian Centre for Microscopy and Micrcoanalysis (ACMM) Madsen Building, University of Sydney, Sydney
SEM, TEM SNMS, image visualisation and data analysis.

University of Sydney School of Chemistry Mass Spectrometry and Vibrational Spectroscopy
Finnigan LCQ mass spectrometer, Thermo Finnigan PolarisQ GC/MS, Bruker 7T Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometer, Laser Raman microscope.

University of New South Wales, School of BEES, Environmental and geochemical research lab
Kensington, Sydney
XRF, XRD, Carbon-Sulfur-Nitrogen analyser, ICPMS

University of New South Wales electron microprobe analytical facility
Chemical Sciences Building, Kensington Campus.
Field Emission SEM-EPMA Hyperprobe
Web: or mail to

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Macquarie University
Laser Ablation ICPMS, Electron Microprobe, Laser Microprobes.

SIMS (Sydney Institute of Marine Science
Chowder Bay, Mosman.
Jetski with hydrographic survey capabilties, Core Logging facility (Resistivity, colour spectroscopy, Geoscan IV imaging, located at UTS), multibeam hydrography, Acoustic Doppler Current Profler, Boats, vehicles.
Web: or email

School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering University of Sydney
Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES), microwave digestion, thermogravimeteric analysis (TGA).
Contact School Laboratory staff for further information

Environmental radioactivity measurement centre
ANSTO, Lucas Heights.
Cox Analytical Systems High Res. X-Ray Flourescence Core Scanning Spectrometer.
Access to instrument through AINSE (Australian Institute of Science and Engineering) research grants scheme.

Access to other items of major equipment that are part of the national research infrastructure (eg. SHRIMP, Synchrotron, marine research facility) can be arranged through the school.
For further information regarding any of the above linkages contact the .


The school provides the following microscopy resources:

  • Microscope maintenance and access to teaching microscope collection
  • Specialist microscopy facilities
  • Microscope cameras
  • Microscopy consumables such as slides, bulbs

Contact for further information.

Lapidary/Rock Saws

Rock crushing
Rock crushing facilities include a Tema mill (rotary disc mill), a Ball mill and a small hydraulic press useful in various applications. Users are required to be trained on this equipment prior to use.

Rock cutting
The rock preparation facility also contains a number of rock saws. Currently operating are 3 small benchtop saws and 1 large free standing rock saw. Users are required to be trained on this equipment prior to use.
Those interested in further information should contact the for arrangements.

Thin section preparation
(Currently under development) A modern lapidary preparation facility intended to produce high quality thin sections for research and teaching purposes. Enquire through the .

Laboratory Safety

School laboratory staff can provide information and assistance with the following elements of laboratory safety.

Personal protective equipment
Available for use are Lab Coats/Dust Coats, protective gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection, specialised HF protective equipment.

Assistance with Laboratory Risk Assessments, Standard Operating Procedures
All chemical methods are required to have a risk assessment performed. Instruments and techniques require documented standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Hazardous waste disposal
Under no circumstances is waste considered to be hazardous be disposed of in the local University bins. Contact Laboratory staff for further information on disposal procedures.