Laboratory for Characterization of Geological Materials


The Laboratory for Characterization of Geological Materials (LCGM) comprises advanced analytical equipment actually in operation and operated by qualified researchers, able to carry analyses and their scientific interpretation and supervise PhD thesis, coordinate projects or collaborate with the industry.

Microthermometry Lab: fluid inclusions microthermometry includes freezing stages (-180 °C) and heating stages (600 °C e 1500 °C) that allow the determination of the chemical composition of fluids trapped in minerals and their minimum temperature of formation.

Raman micro-spectrometry/spectroscopy Lab: includes two Raman spectrometers coupled to optical microscopes, that allow the non-destructive identification and characterization of solid materials and also the quantification of volatile compounds (CO2, CH4 e N2) present in mineral fluid inclusions.

Magnetic susceptibility Lab: consists of a magnetic susceptibility meter, Agico Kappabridge KLY-4S model (Czech Republic). This apparatus is equipped with specific software provided by Agico, which permit the measurement and treatment of magnetic susceptibility and Anisotropy of Magnetic Susceptibility (AMS) data. To perform the sampling of oriented cores for AMS studies, three gasoline powered core drills are also available. To cut the oriented cores this lab has also a dual blade rock saw specific for AMS samples.  In this lab the magnetic susceptibility of a wide variety of materials is measured, namely rocks, sediments, soils and tree leaves for several studies, such as, rock petrophysics, environmental and forensic studies.

Cathodoluminescence Lab:  a Lumic HC3-LM equipment allowed the distinction and the knowledge of distribution of phosphatized organisms associated with ironstones. The application of cathodoluminescence microscopy to the study of quartz from different sources aimed to show the importance of this technique to distinguish different generations of quartz, and to identify geochemical signatures with different origins.

Organic Petrology Lab:  the equipment includes sample preparation devices, optical microscopes equipped with transmitted and reflected white and fluorescent lights; point-count systems; and the most advanced software in image analysis for carbonaceous materials studies (measurement of vitrinite reflectance and maceral analysis in coal, dispersed organic matter and oil source-rocks, chars and graphitized materials.

Gas chromatography Lab: The gas chromatograph equipped with an auto sampler and coupled to a mass spectrometer detector allows the identification and quantification of the different hydrocarbons present in a wide variety of geological materials: rocks, soils, sediments, waters, fossil fuels, and oil source rocks. The GC-MS analysis of the different geological materials can be developed for characterization, contamination, forensic, quality, and EXPLORATION studies. This lab also contains some specific devices for sample preparation (roto-evaporator, nitrogen evaporator and soxhlet apparatus), which represents one of the most sensitive stages of GC-MS analysis of geological and environmental samples.

Spectroscopy Lab: a Bruker Tensor-27 Infra-Red spectrometer is equipped with a room temperature TGC-detector and a horizontal ATR unit. A 45º horizontal ZnSe ATR crystal is mounted in a 30-ml rectangular cell made of polypropylene. The fundamental vibrations of structures are studied by FT-IR in mid-infrared energy approximately in the region between 4000 cm-1 (2500 nm) to 400 cm-1 (25.000 nm), whereas the attenuated total reflectance (ATR)–FTIR spectroscopy in the region of 4000-800 cm-1. Both techniques are available, being used to identify and even quantify the organic and inorganic molecules in solid, liquid and plants samples.

Petrography Lab:  the equipment includes sample preparation devices, optical microscopes with transmitted and/or reflected white light, point-count systems, and software for image analysis, allowing the development of combined macroscopic, stereo-binocular, petrographic and metalographic studies of rocks and geological materials.

Geophysics and Remote Sensing Lab: although we possess a limited amount geophysical instruments we have benefited from the cooperation with IGUP (Geophysical Institute of the University of Porto) as well as some geophysical services providing firms. We are able to perform a number of geophysical techniques, such as seismic travel-time tomographic refraction, MASW, ReMi and 2D/3D electrical resistivity, TDEM and GPR, applied to engineering, environment and natural hazard assessment.



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