Paleo³ Research Group (5133/5137/5232 Jordan)

Our research group has three primary user spaces, two of which are directed by PI Hyland: 1) the Paleoclimate Lab (5137), and 2) the Paleobotany & Paleoecology Lab (5133); and a third shared user space (w/ PIs Leithold and Osburne): 3) the Isotope Lab (5232).

Paleoclimate Lab (5137; Isotope/paleosol preparation)

** Coming Soon**


Paleobotany & Paleoecology Lab (5133; Fossil/phytolith preparation)

The Paleobotany and Paleoecology Lab is ~300 sq ft and has a dedicated phytolith extraction line; a microbalance for sample weighing; a fume hood with natural gas, compressed air and vacuum ports; a sink with sediment trap and both deionized and reverse osmosis water systems; and flexible lab bench space.

The preparation portion of the laboratory has a custom-built phytolith extraction line to isolate and identify phytoliths from plant and paleosol materials. Samples can be cleaned in ultrasonic baths and shaker tables, digested in reaction vessels, sieved, and separated via heavy liquid flotation in a high-speed centrifuge. Isolated samples prepared on the line are then cleaned and mounted on slides for counting and morphotype analysis with microscope/imaging equipment.

The optical and data analysis portion of the laboratory has space for bulk sample storage; a PC computer workstation for data analysis; and two compound microscopes with camera and counting assemblies. Microscopes available include one Olympus BH-2 and one Nikon Eclipse compound/petrographic microscope, which is equipped with a motorized stage, Nikon XYZ Imaging System, and Nikon DS color digital camera for high-resolution (1,000 x magnification) imaging of phytolith samples.

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Isotope Lab (5232; Isotope measurement)

The NCSU Isotope Lab is a shared facility in MEAS, and houses our lab’s clumped/stable isotope instrumentation. Our Nu Instruments Perspective IS isotope ratio mass spectrometer (aka “Frodo”) and its associated NuCarb carbonate device (aka “Samwise”) are housed here, and run all of our clumped isotope (Δ47) and traditional isotope (δ18O, δ13C) analyses. The laboratory also has a desiccator for sample and reference material storage; a compressed gas cylinder rack; laser particle size analyzer; and sample storage/preparation area including a microbalance.

Our equipment includes a custom-built vacuum line to digest carbonates in phosphoric acid or prepare reference gases and perform subsequent purification of the CO2 volume. Prepared carbonate samples can be digested using a 50-sample autosampler with acid injection line (held at 70°C, under vacuum). Evolved CO2 or CO2 introduced as a reference gas can be prepared automatically via cold finger and Porapak traps in the attached stainless steel portion of the purification line, where NuCarb software on a dedicated Windows-based PC drives the automated operation.

Our mass spectrometer is a Nu Instruments Perspective IS with NuCarb autosampler, dual inlet, and with a collector configured to measure δ13C, δ18O, and clumped isotopologues of CO2 (masses 44-49 inclusive). The inlet system includes a device for automated reference gas introduction to the bellows so that sample and reference gas pressures are balanced prior to analysis, enabling precise (±0.005–0.01 per mil) analyses of small (~1–5 mg) carbonate samples.

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If you are interested in using any of our facilities, please see our “Paleo3 Service Center” page.

If you have questions about the facilities, methods, or standard operating procedures, see our “Resources” page.