Earth and Environment Laboratory Facilities and Instruments

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Student involvement in research and the mentoring of individual students by members of the faculty are as important to our program as classroom teaching. We are committed to making the use of advanced research instrumentation an integral part of the undergraduate experience. Our students have access to research instrumentation that, at many schools, is only available to students at the graduate level.

Faculty, staff, and students from other Departments at Franklin & Marshall and from other institutions also use our facilities for their teaching and research. We have ongoing relationships with F&M's Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Biology, Millersville University, colleges in the Keck Geology Consortium, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Armstrong World Industries.


X-ray Laboratory

The X-ray lab contains two major research instruments: a Malvern Panalytical, Inc. Zetium X-ray fluorescence vacuum spectrometer and a Malvern Panalytical X’Pert PRO X-ray diffractometer equipped with a 15-position sample changer and a ceramic Cu X-ray tube.

Geochemistry Lab

The ENE "Geochem Lab" is utilized by students, staff and faculty throughout the entire school year and during the summer. We can process rock, soil, and water samples. The lab is equipped with all necessary labware, fume hoods, analytical balances, mixer mill, muffle furnace, microwave oven, mid and low temperature ovens, and more.

Rock Crushing Lab

This lab does a bit more than just crush rocks! We have a jaw crusher, mullite grinder and shatterbox used for turning whole rocks into a fine powder for further analysis. The lab also contains a 5” lapidary saw, a 10” trim saw, and a 24” slab rock cutting saw. Thin sections can be produced in this lab manually or with a Buehler thin sectioning machine.


F&M ITS helps ENE maintain 20 teaching and research computers for use by primarily ENE majors and minors. All computers have ArcGIS, QGIS, and Agisoft softwares available. Other research software can be added upon request. It is important that students do not store any files locally on these computers.

Waterworks Lab

The Waterworks Lab is devoted to the interaction of water and sediments. We maintain a stream table, turbidity tube, and several groundwater models all available for student use. A generous alumni donated a new stream table in 2019.

Drone and Remote Sensing Lab

ENE has a Drone and Remote Sensing Lab available.


Spectro Blue Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES)

Our ICP analyzes liquid samples for major and some trace elements. Argon gas delivers an aerosolized sample through a plasma flame, where the sample is completely ionized, then analyzed by an visible light spectrometer. This instrument is used by not just ENE students but also many students from the Department of Chemistry.

Malvern Panalytical XRD and XRF

Learn more about our X-ray laboratory instrumentation.

SciXR Mini Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Our SciXR Mini Scanning Electron Microscope was purchased with generous support from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation in 2012. Students and faculty image a diverse variety of materials ranging from ultra thin metal films to holocene diatoms, tertiary fossil leaves to miocene sponge spicules. An electron gun generates a beam of electrons. Those electrons strike the surface of a sample and several detectors (secondary and backscattered electron detectors) are able to “see” the energy that is emitted from the sample.

Canberra Gamma Spectrometer

This instrument measures gamma emitting radionuclides like Cesium-137.

Liquid Scintillation Counter

ENE has a Liquid Scintillation Counter available.

Thermo Scientific Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometer (ED-XRF)

ENE has a Thermo Scientific Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence spectrometer (ED-XRF) available.