The sample preparation equipment housed in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences are shared facilities that are co-managed by Dr. Emily Finzel, Dr. Bill McClelland, and Dr. David Peate. Analytical instruments for Earth-science research, including an SEM, electron microprobe, laser ablation ICP-MS, and XRF, are housed in the Iowa MatFab Facility.

jaw crusher

Bico Badger jaw crusher

Reduces fist-sized or smaller pieces of rock to 1/8"-3/4" gravel

ball mill

Spex 8000m mixer mill

Small high-energy ball mill that accommodates sample sizes ranging from 0.2 - 1.5 grams

ultrasonic separator

Fisherbrand™ Model 505 Sonic Dismembrator

High power, programmable system ideal for separating clay from silt and sand grains

Frantz free fall separator

Freefall magnetic separator

Suitable for separating free flowing sands in the range of 30 to 100 mesh



An automated, programmable hydraulic press to make pressed discs for XRF analysis



A particle size and shape analyzer that uses dynamic image analysis to measure a size range of 20 µm - 30 mm using dry analysis of granulates and bulk materials

disk mill

Bico UA pulverizer

Reduces up to 1/4" gravel pieces to 150-200 mesh particles 

shatter box

Spex 8530 Shatterbox

Swing mill with sound-proof enclosure that accommodates sample sizes ranging from 2-100g

water table

Gemini water table

Shaker table used to isolate dense fractions

Frantz magnetic barrier separator

Frantz magnetic susceptibility separator

Removes paramagnetic minerals from a heavy mineral separate



A 3-position automated fluxer to create homogenous fused beads for XRF analysis

Petrographic microscope

Petrographic microscope

Standard petrographic microscope equipped with a teaching head and a Petrog automated point-counting stage