Sir Kingsley Dunham Palaeoclimate Laboratory

The Sir Kingsley Dunham Palaeoclimate Laboratory is housed in Durham University’s Department of Earth Sciences, and is equipped with a state-of-the-art New Wave micromill capable of milling stalagmite samples at a micron-scale resolution. The lab is also equipped with a Proxxon micromill that is primarily used for lower resolution (annual-scale and greater) sampling. Milled samples are weighed out using a Mettler Toledo 6 figure XS3DU Microbalance. The lab also benefits from a super clean water system and two fume hoods.

Field monitoring equipment also housed in the Sir Kingsley Dunham Palaeoclimate Laboratory include automated drip loggers for aiding in the selection of appropriate stalagmite samples, numerous carbon dioxide loggers for both cave and soil air, temperature loggers, humidity loggers, barometric pressure loggers, conductivity monitors, radon loggers, and rain gauges.

The Kingsley Dunham Palaeoclimate Laboratory
Above, Harriet and James working on YOK-G in the Sir Kingsley Dunham Palaeoclimate Laboratory using the lab’s New Wave Micromill.

Stable Isotope Laboratory

The Stable Isotope Laboratory housed in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University was established in 2005 and is co-managed by team member, Dr Colin Macpherson. The aim of the laboratory is to measure isotope ratios of light elements such as hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and strontium, in a wide range of organic and inorganic materials. The laboratory occupies two rooms of the Earth Sciences building, one for preparation of samples and one for mass spectrometry.

Equipment includes two stable-isotope ratio mass spectrometers (a MAT 253 and Thermo Delta V) and a Los Gatos Research laser mass spectrometer (Liquid-water Isotope Analyzer). The Thermo Delta V and LWIA are managed by Stable Isotope Laboratory co-manager, Dr Darren Gröcke.

The Stable Isotope Laboratory
Full-time technician Ms Joanne Peterkin working on the Finnigan MAT 253 in the Durham Department of Earth Sciences’ Stable Isotope Laboratory.

Elemental Analysis Laboratory

The Elemental Analysis Laboratory is housed in the Department of Earth Sciences and is part of the Northern Centre for Isotopic and Elemental Tracing (NCIET). The laboratory is excellently equipped with two quadrupole-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers (Q-ICPMS), an inductively-couple plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES), and a Thermo Element 2 inductively-coupled mass spectrometer (ICP-MS). The Q-ICPMS and the Element will be used to analyse micromilled stalagmite powders and cave drip water samples for trace elements.

Thermo Scientific Element 2 ICP-MS
Left, the Thermo Scientific ELEMENT 2 ICP-MS housed in the NCIET ICP Laboratory