Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra

Grain-size analysis unit

The grain size determination unit is equipped with a SediGraph 5100 analyzer combined with a MasterTech 51 automatic sampler that allows determination of particle size in different types of sediment or particulate matter. Determination is carried out by the sedimentation method following Stokes law. The SediGraph 5100 uses a low energy collimating X-Ray beam to mesure the sedimentation rate of each particle. The best results are obtained for the clay, silt or fine sand fractions. The whole system is automatized, so that the samples are introduced into the mixing chamber and the analytical process is programmed from the computer atached. All parameters, including the Reynolds number, are determinated automatically, thus eliminating the errors caused by manual introduction comomonly used in other systems.


Cartography, profiles & modelling lab

Several laboratories of the IACT are grouped under this name. Their installations (IT equipment, large format printing and specific software) allow researchers to carry out the following tasks:

  • Processing of geophysical data (multichannel and monochannel seismic profiles, gravimetric and magnetic profiles).
  • Interpretation of seismic profiles 2D and seismic profiles 3D.
  • Design and drawing of figures and maps.


X-ray diffraction

The X-Ray diffraction laboratory is equipped with a Philips PW 1710 apparatus, operated by a totally computerised system (XPOWDER), and a Panalystical X'Pert Pro MPD model with automatic charger and X'Celerator detector, allowing rapid, precise qualitative and quantitative study of the mineral composition of any geological sample.

Several types of study are routinely carried out on total powder and oriented aggregate samples with various chemical and thermal treatments.


X-ray fluorescence

XRF spectrometry based on the emission of characteristic "secondary" (or fluorescent) X-rays from a material that has been excited by bombarding with high-energy X-rays as primary radiation from an X-ray tube. In this process, electrons are ejected from the inner shells, creating vacancies, which present an unstable condition for the atom. As the atom returns to its stable condition, electrons from the outer shells are transferred to the inner shells and give off a characteristic x-ray whose energy is the difference between the two binding energies of the corresponding shells. Since each element has a unique set of energy levels, each element produces x-rays at a unique set of energies, allowing non-destructively measure the elemental composition of the sample. In a wavelength dispersion X-ray fluorescence (WDXRF) spectrometer these fluorescence X-rays are collimated into a parallel beam and dispersed into a spectrum through diffraction by a synthetic analyzing crystal, passing then to an X-ray detector.

The laboratory is equipped with a wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, BRUKER S4 Pioneer, with a maximum power of 4 kW. The spectrometer has an Rh anode X-ray tube (60 kV, 150 mA); three analyzer crystals (OVO-55, LiF 200 and PET); two collimators, 0.23º and 0.46º; Pb, Cu, and Al beam filters; and a flow proportional counter for light element detection and a scintillation counter for heavy elements. The Integrated Analytical Intelligence (IAI) of SPECTRAplus, the analytical X-ray fluorescence (XRF) software solution for calibration, evaluation and reporting, offers easy start-up for own calibrations, providing optimized measurement parameters and allowing easy routine operation. The integrated standardless evaluation for all kind of samples like rocks, minerals, metals, hydrocarbons and all kind of industrial products allows the fast and easy determination of element concentrations from 100 % down to the ppm-level without performing a calibration.

Sample preparation equipments include

  1. Automatic hydraulic press (MIGNON S, NANNETTI), to prepare pressed pellets.
  2. Fusion machine (Vulcan 4M, FLUXANA-HD-ELEKTRONIK), to prepare fused beads.
  3. Precision Balance (GF-200, AND)


Scientific ilustration

The scientific illustration service provides designs and drawings in support of publications made by the scientific personnel. Such materials can be used in congresses, conferences and to illustrate teaching activities.

The main tasks of this service are the following:

  1. Geological mapping
  2. Geological profiles
  3. Petrological phase diagrams
  4. 3D designs (crystals, measurement equipments, etc)


Geophysical lab

The IACT has a computer infraestructure for processing and interpretation of geological and geophysical data.

The scientific tasks undertaken include:

  1. Visualizing, processing and interpretation of bathymetry data, obtained using multibean probes. Software: Fledermaus, Caraibes, Caris.
  2. Digitizing of seismic profiles, using analogical scanning of profiles and conversion to digital formats (eg. segy). Software: Lynx.
  3. Procesing of geophysical marine data , such as (multichannel and monochannel) seismic profiles, gravimetric and magnetic data. Software: Promax, RadExpro, SeismicUnix.
  4. Structural analysis of geological sections, section balancing, decompacting, section retistution and prolongation in depth of surface data. Software: 2DMove.
  5. Seismic and well data interpretation.
The following equipment is available for the various activities:

1 Silicon Graphics Octane 2 workstation, 1 Sun Ultra Sparc mod. 60 workstation, 1 Sun W2100z workstation with double AMD Opteron processor, 1 DELL Precision 940 worstation with Dual Quad Core processor.

DAT DDS2 and DDS4 tape units, high capacity Ethernet hard disks, large-format screens for better data visualization, etc.

Printing can be carried out on a large format Xerox 8825 plotter and a printing system consisting of a Xerox X510 scanner+plotter, both large format, with the possibility of also copying plans or profiles. A HP750C Plus plotter is also available for colour printing.

Geochemical lab

This laboratory is used for sample preparation, in particular for preparation of fused beads and pressed pellets of powdered samples for X ray Fluorescence analyses, for digestion of samples for analysis by atomic absorption (AA), Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), and for mineral separation by sequential chemical leaching.


Microscopy & Microphotography

The equipment includes:

  1. Reflected and transmitted light microscopy equipment.
  2. Digital microphotography.


Analogical modelling

The Analogical Modelling Laboratory is located on the premises of the Geodynamics Department of the UGR.

Its equipment includes and experiment table with two electric motors connected to mobile boards with variable speeds of 0.2 to 10 cm/hour. Multiple experimental set-ups are possible (compression, extension, slip and combinations of same). Several digital cameras record the progressive deformation in the experiments

The analogical materials used and calibrated to date are:

  1. Sand.
  2. Silicon.
  3. Glass microspheres.


Thin section preparation

Equipped with:

A Struers Planopol – V polishing wheel, a Microtec automatic thin sectioning system, a Petro-Thin sectioning system by Buehler, two microscopes (one transmitted, the other reflected light), complementary apparatus, etc.

This laboratory prepares:
  1. Thin sections, polished thin sections and polished blocks for study using transmitted and reflected light microscopy and electronic microprobe, transmission electron microscopy and laser ablation.
  2. Doubly polished sections are also prepared for study of fluid inclusions.
  3. Sections and blocks of mineral concentrates are also prepared.


Milling room

Equipped with apparatus for grinding and mineral separation.


Sedimentology & clay mineralogy

The clay mineralogy laboratory prepares samples for analysis by X-Ray diffraction. The most common activities are grinding in agat mortars to prepare powder samples for study of their total mineralogical composition, and separation of the < 2 mµ fraction. The latter is carried out by acid leaching of samples followed by centrifuging. The laboratory is equipped with balances, stoves, ovens, centrifuges and all other necesary apparatus.