Natural Resources

Geochemical Laboratory

The Geochemical Laboratory, is located in a custom-designed wing of the Howley Building on Higgins Line in St. John's. The lab's sample preparation facilities include a variety of crushing, grinding and sieving equipment, and well-equipped chemical laboratories for sample digestion and analysis. The main analytical instruments are an ARL 3520 ICP-ES (sequential) and a Thermo Jarrell Ash IRIS CID ICP-ES (simultaneous). Both are fully automated and an ultrasonic nebulizer is available for use with either instrument. In addition the lab is equipped with an atomic absorption spectrophotometer, potentiometric analyser and an infra-red spectrometer.

The main work of the lab is the analysis of solid materials (rocks, soils, sediments) for their major and trace constituents. Between 180,000 and 250,000 determinations are made each year. More recently the lab has undertaken the analysis of other materials such as vegetation and surface waters. Systematic quality control protocols are employed for all analytical projects undertaken, and the lab actively participates in the certification of new international geological reference materials.

Staff

Director:Chris Finch
Telephone: 709-729-3312
Fax: 709-729-3200
Chemist: Lisa Connors
Telephone: 709-729-3322
Fax: 709-729-3200
Chemist: Jennifer Kelly
Telephone: 709-729-3375
Fax: 709-729-3200
Chemist: Rosauro Roldan
Telephone: 709-729-3352
Fax: 709-729-3200

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Analytical Services

Analysis of solid materials (soil, sediment, rock, etc); single element analysis, total content, specific techniques

Determination   Detection
limit
Determination   Detection
limit
Aluminum Al 100 ppm Manganese Mn 5 ppm
Alumina Al2O3 0.01% Molybdenum Mo 2 ppm
Arsenic As 2 ppm Niobium Nb 2 ppm
Barium Ba 2 ppm Nickel Ni 2 ppm
Beryllium Be 0.1 ppm Phosphorus P 50 ppm
Cadmium Cd 0.2 ppm Phosphoria P2O5 0.01%
Calcium Ca 100 ppm Potassium K 100 ppm
Lime CaO 0.01% Potash K2O 0.01%
Carbon C 100 ppm Rubidium Rb 2 ppm
Cerium Ce 2 ppm Scandium Sc 0.2 ppm
Cobalt Co 2 ppm Silicon Si 100 ppm
Chromium Cr 2 ppm Silica SiO2 0.01%
Copper Cu 2 ppm Silver Ag 0.2 ppm
Dysprosium Dy 0.2 ppm Sodium Na 100 ppm
Fluorine F 40 ppm Soda Na2O 0.01%
Iron (Total) Fe 100 ppm Strontium Sr 2 ppm
Iron (Ferrous) Fe2+ 0.01% Sulphur S 100 ppm
Iron (Ferric) Fe3+ 0.01% Titanium Ti 2 ppm
Lanthanum La 2 ppm Titania TiO2 0.01%
Lead Pb 2 ppm Vanadium V 2 ppm
Lithium Li 0.1 ppm Yttrium Y 2 ppm
Loss on ignition LOI 0.01% Zinc Zn 2 ppm
Magnesium Mg 100 ppm Zirconium Zr 2 ppm
Magnesia MgO 0.01%
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Package A: Total Multi-Acid Digestion, ICP Determination

For all geological materials; samples containing organic matter require ashing prior to analysis at additional cost.

Element Detection
limit (1)
Element Detection
limit (1)
Element Detection
limit (1)
Al 100 ppm Fe 50 ppm P 2 ppm
As 2 ppm K 10 ppm Pb 2 ppm
Ba2 2 ppm La 2 ppm Rb 5 ppm
Be 0.1 ppm Li 0.1 ppm Sc 2 ppm
Ca 50 ppm Mg 25 ppm Sr 2 ppm
Cd 0.2 ppm Mn 5 ppm Ti 2 ppm
Ce 2 ppm Mo 2 ppm V 2 ppm
Co 2 ppm Nb 2 ppm Y 2 ppm
Dy 0.2 ppm Na 25 ppm Zn 2 ppm
Cr2 2 ppm Ni 2 ppm Zr2 2 ppm
Cu 2 ppm
1 The detection limit may be higher in sample matrixes.

2 Method may not be total for Ba, Cr or Zr; see package C below.

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Package B: Lithium Metaborate Fusion, ICP Determination

Determination Detection
limit
Determination Detection
limit
SiO2 0.01% Na2O 0.01%
Al2O3 0.01% K2O 0.01%
Fe2O3 0.01% TiO2 0.01%
FeO 0.01% MnO 0.01%
MgO 0.01% P2O5 0.01%
CaO 0.01% LOI 0.01%
Ba 10 ppm Zn 10 ppm
Cu 100 ppm    
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Package C: Standard ICP Determination (Water Analysis)

Element Detection
limit 1
Element Detection
limit 1
Element Detection
limit 1
Ca 10 ppb Mg 1 ppb S (SO4) 100 ppb
Fe 5 ppb Mn 2 ppb Si 100 ppb
K 100 ppb Na 10 ppb
1 The detection limit may be higher in sample matrixes

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Package D: ICP Determination, Ultra-Sonic Nebulizer (Water Analysis)

Element Detection
limit 1
Element Detection
limit 1
Element Detection
limit 1
Al 10 ppb Cu 1 ppb Sr 0.5 ppb
Ba 1 ppb Li 1 ppb Ti 1 ppb
Be 0.1 ppb Mo 1 ppb Y 0.5 ppb
Co 1 ppb Ni 2 ppb Zn 0.5 ppb
Cr 1 ppb P 5 ppb
1 The detection limit may be higher in sample matrixes

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Sample Preparation and Handling

A) Sieving Soil, till, stream sediment, lake sediment
B) Crushing and Pulverizing Up to 250g using tungsten carbide Extra split (250g) Oversize samples Up to 250g using ceramic mill
C) Handling and Packaging Retrieving sample from archive storage Encapsulation for INAA Preparing split for outside analysis
D) Filtration Water samples (up to 250 mL), 0.45 micrometres

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