University of California, Riverside

Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences

Global Climate & Environmental Change



San Gabriel Mountains from UC Riverside

Research at UC Riverside

Within the Earth Sciences department are located 5 mass spectrometers including a VG Prism Dual Inlet Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer for analyzing carbon and oxygen in bulk carbonates) and a new ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer) for identification and quantification of trace/major elements.

Two new Thermo Finnigan Delta V continuous flow stable isotope ratio mass spectrometers attached to carbonate, water and solids auto preparation devices interface with an Elemental Analyzer, Thermal Combustion Elemental Analyzer and GC Combustion peripherals.

Together these instruments are capable of analyzing the full range of isotopic variation of biologically important elements such as C, O, H, N, S along with fossil molecules or biomarkers and organic compounds and ultra sensitive trace element determination for tracing elements in the natural environment. These instruments are the latest models and housed in newly constructed, state of the art laboratories designed specifically for environmental research.

Renovations in the Earth Sciences building provide brand new, state of the art laboratory facilities.


(left) Kratos X-ray diffractometer for qualitative and quantitative analyses of mineral samples.

(right) New ICP-MS for analysis of major and trace elements .


Clay Lab

Brand new labs house the department's XRD and clay-research facilities.

Clay Lab

Additional analytical capability includes the quantitative determination of sediment and soil mineralogy using Xray Diffraction (XRD) and the Central Facility for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis (CFAMM) incorporates two transmission, two scanning electron microscopes, and a confocal laser microscope system. Three basic kinds of information in the micron down to atomic scale range are provided by the electron microscopes; images, crystal structure, and chemical analyses. The laser confocal microscopy offers the opportunity for imaging of fluorescent samples and 3Doptical reconstructions. We also have multiple rock, sediment and soil preparation facilities and are complemented by the extensive analytical capability in the Environmental Science Department.

Delta V Advantage

Thermo Finnegan Delta V Advantage CF-MS (left) with an attached Gas Bench II for automated analysis of carbonates and water. This mass spec also hosts an attached GC-MS (right) for component specific analysis of organics in sediments and rocks.


Prism II

A Prism II dual-inlet mass spectrometer is available for analysis of carbon and oxygen isotopic ratios in bulk rock samples.


Delta V Plus

A Delta V Plus (left) is also new to the department and attached to an elemental analyzer (right) for identifying isotoppic ratios of carbon and sulfur and a TC-EA (left) for analysis of oxygen ratios in sulfates and phosphates.



The newest mass spectrometer in the department will be a Waters Autospec Premier GC-MS/MS This latest development in magnetic sector technology provides an unmatched combination of high sensitivity, high resolution, and low background noise and is ideal for detailed analyses of trace molecular biomarkers (fossil biochemicals) present in ancient sediments and oils, as well as organic constituents of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites and organic pollutants in modern environmental samples.


More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Earth Sciences Information

Department of Earth Sciences
Geology Building

Tel: (951) 827-3182
Fax: (951) 827-4324