The Fe Oxide Lab (Christopher J Lepre, PI) at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences of Rutgers University is a NSF-funded facility that uses rock magnetism and spectrophotometry to study how iron oxides are formed, destroyed, and preserved in terrestrial environments. Principally examined are the minerals hematite and magnetite found in soils, sediments, and sedimentary rock. Currently, the lab has two main projects: (1) to understand the formation of hematite in terrestrial red beds and (2) to develop new methods for interpreting monsoonal paleoclimates. These pursuits are being applied to the Kenyan rift valley of East Africa and Triassic-Jurassic formations of North America. In particular, the habitats of early theropod dinosaurs and our Plio-Pleistocene hominin ancestors are being studied in order to assess the role that climate may have played in the macroevolution of species.
EQUIPMENT & FACILITIES
Cary 60 UV-Vis spectrophotometer manufactured by Agilent Technologies. This machine is coupled with the Video Barellino, which is a diffuse reflectance sensor that can be placed directly upon the sample being measured. Scans of the entire wavelength range (190 to 1100 nm) is achieved in seconds for survey purposes or the scan rate can be slowed for more precise readings.
Remote fiber optic diffuse reflectance accessories allows for accurate placement of the sensor on a ~2 mm target area of the geologic sample. This particular unit is the Video Barellino manufactured by Harrick Scientific for Agilent. The camera on this sensor projects to the laptop that operates the spectrophotometer. Snapshots and videos of the sample surface being studied can be captured concurrent with analyses, although not during the actual measurement.
Newly acquired this year, the MS3 magnetic susceptibility meter interfaces with a range of sensors to measure soils, rocks, powders and liquids. It interfaces with the lab's laptop via USB but is portable for field use.
This sensor accepts 10 ml and 20 ml cylindrical bottles, 25.4 mm and 23 mm cubic boxes, 35 mm pots and 25.4 mm cylindrical cores.
The dual frequency capabilities permits measurements of ferrimagnetic grains close to the superparamagnetic stable single domain transition. This information is especially important for the FeOx lab's study of modern and ancient soils.
The FeOx Lab has a number of work stations for sample preparation and basic wet chemistry for the separation of iron oxides from geologic samples:
- gravity convection oven (max 450°F/232°C)
- orbital mixers, hot plates & magnetic stirrers
- beakers, flasks, test tubes, etc.
- Dremel 4000 series (1.6 Amp) with cutting jig
- dust & fume extraction hood
For more information about lab use and availability please contact
Dr. Christopher Lepre
610 Taylor Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8066