Geological Science and Engineering

Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering
Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Facilities and Services

The Department is well-equipped for research and hands-on learning experiences with standard research tools that are expected in a Geological or Earth Sciences and Geological Engineering department. We are also equipped with a growing variety of high-tech and specialized research equipment. These facilities are summarized below.

Queen's Facility for Isotope Research (QFIR)

Co-Directors: Dr. Dan Layton-Matthews, Dr. Matthew Leybourne, Dr. Peir Pufahl, Dr. Heather Jamieson
Associate Scientists: Dr. Anna Harrison, Dr. Gema Olivo, Dr. Laurent Godin, Dr. Chris Spencer, Dr. Noel James, Dr. Jennifer Day, Dr. Bas Vriens, Dr. Steve Lougheed (Biology), Dr. John Smol (Biology), Dr. Diane Beauchemin (Chemistry)





  • Stable isotope & ICP/MS Lab
  • Electron Microbeam (Microprobe and SEM-MLA)
  • X-Ray Diffraction (including 2D micro-X-Ray Diffraction)
  • Thin Section and Rock Room

Queen's Advanced Geomechanics Testing Laboratory

Dr. Mark Diederichs, Dr. Jennifer Day

  • MTS 2500 kN loading frame for state-of-art rock unconfined compressive stress, triaxial and tensile testing
  • GCTS servo-controlled direct shear machine
  • Sample preparation, conformity testing, and preservation equipment

Geomechanics Imaging Lab

Dr. Jean Hutchinson, Rob Harrap

  • LiDAR imaging systems – Reigl, Faro and Optech
  • Photography equipment – Gigapan robotic heads, Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras and lenses
  • Phantom IV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
  • High performance work stations
  • 3D Geometry Modelling Software: Photoscan, CloudCompare, RiScan, Polyworks, Cyclone, Scene
  • Game Engine Software: Unity, Houdini
  • Database Asset: 8+ years of rock slope monitoring data from several large slopes adjacent to railway infrastructure in western Canada

Computational Geomechanics Lab

Dr. Mark Diederichs, Dr. Jean Hutchinson, Dr. Jennifer Day

  • High performance work stations with industry standard and state-of-art 2D and 3D geomechanics software
  • RocScience software suite
  • Itasca Consulting Group Software: FLAC, FLAC3D, UDEC, 3DEC, PFC2D, PFC3D, Rhino, Griddle
  • Discrete Fracture Network software: FRACMAN, Mofrac

Sedimentary Geology Lab

Dr. Elisabeth Steel, Dr. Peir Pufahl

  • Mastersizer 3000 Particle Size Analyzer (for measuring grain size distributions), Centrifuge, and Fume Hood
  • Clay separation preparation facilities for X-Ray Diffraction
  • Workstation with Kingdom suite petroleum geology software for interpretation of subsurface datasets
  • Flume facilities housed in Coastal Engineering Lab:
    • Log flume for turbidity currents (30 cm wide x 4 m long x 70 cm deep, glass sided)
    • Delta and Deepwater Basin: 4 m x 4 m basin, 1 m deep, with 2 glass sides for viewing, equipped with submersible topographic scanner and sea-level control system

Environmental and Aqueous Geochemistry Labs

Dr. Anna Harrison, Dr. Heather Jamieson, Dr. Bas Vriens

  • Fourier transform infrared spectrometer -micro ATR (for microplastic polymer and mineral identification)
  • Micromeritics TriStar II BET surface area analyzer equipped with N2 and Kr for both low and high surface area materials
  • Titroline 7000 auto-alkalinity titrator
  • Shaking water baths
  • Mixed flow and batch low T experimental apparatus
  • Refrigerated incubator
  • MilliQ ultrapure water system
  • Integrion HPIC system for aqueous speciation analysis
  • Automated microwave digestion system, freeze dryer

Departmental Computing Facilities

  • Industry standard geomechanics numerical modelling software by RocScience
  • Earth Systems Information Laboratory (ESIL): Computing educational facility with a wide range of software packages used in industry and research, including ArcGIS, AutoCAD, Maya, Iogas, as well as productivity and programming applications
  • Rose Lab: Small group education and research facility with dual-monitor workstations and a mix of software packages used in research and education including ArcGIS, Maya, Unity, CloudCompare, Leapfrog, as well as productivity and programming applications. The Rose Lab is also used as a remote computing facility for longer-term compute jobs.

Additional Departmental Facilities and Resources

  • Optical Microscope labs and thin section specimen teaching collection
  • Structural geology rock teaching collection
  • Paleontology fossil teaching collection
  • Economic geology ore minerals and rocks teaching collection
  • Geotechnical drill core teaching collection
  • Miller Museum of Geology rock, mineral, and fossil specimen collections
  • Miller Museum of Geology Augmented Reality 3D Sandbox
  • Technical and safety equipment for field studies