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Research Facilities

Research Facilities (including shared analytical facilities and computational facilities) in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences enable efficiencies of time, knowledge, and resources. They are school supported, funded, and staffed, and are shared by faculty, staff, and students across the university.

Branner Earth Sciences Library

The Branner Earth Sciences Library, on the second floor of Mitchell Earth Sciences Building, contains four GIS workstations and many electronic data sets in addition to books, periodicals, and maps.

Computer Network

The School provides and manages a high speed local area computer network that connects to the campus SUNet backbone. You must register your computer or other device to use this network.

Earth Materials Lab

These laboratories house a broad range of shared equipment for the initial steps of preparing rock samples. Numerous SES research groups use these labs, before completing more specialized procedures in their own facilities. Equipment is available for rock sawing, polishing, coring, crushing, grinding, powdering, sieving, washing, drying, separating, concentrating, etc.  (formerly Rock Preparation and Mineral Separation Labs)

Affiliated Faculty: 

Environmental Measurement 1: Gas-Solution Analytical Center

The Environmental Measurement 1: Gas-Solution Analytical Center provides quantitative analysis and technical expertise to members of the Stanford community needing to conduct soil, gas, and water measurements.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Environmental Measurement 2: Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Lab (SIBL)

The Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (SIBL) provides analytical facilities and technical expertise to members of the Stanford community who need to determine stable isotope ratios of a variety of organic and inorganic materials from both terrestrial and marine environments. The facility has the ability to measure C, N, O (including 17O), H, and S in plant and animal tissue, soils, minerals, and waters. Moreover, by the use of infrared lasers and micro-drill techniques it provides capabilities for high-spatial resolution isotopic measurements. The laboratory is also making investments in the development of Cavity Ring-Down Laser Spectroscopy for a variety of lab and field based innovations in stable isotopic analyses.

Affiliated Faculty: 

G.R.I.D. lab in Mitchell A59

The "Geo-Imaging, Research and Design" lab is maintained for use by Earth Sciences graduate students, staff, and faculty to do independent research. This computer lab has both Macs and PCs running applications like ArcGIS, ENVI, Matlab, Comsol, the Adobe Creative Suite, and Microsoft Office. Scanners, printers, and large format plotters are also available. Contact the GRID lab manager with any questions.

Geochronology Facility

We comprehensively examine the evolution of the Earth's crust using highly integrated geochronologic approaches conducted in a wide spectrum of analytical facilities that are all housed within the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. Our highly collaborative research provides fundamental data to many disciplines throughout the geosciences, including tectonics, geodynamics, petrology, geochemistry, geomorphology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, paleontology, and paleoclimatology.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Geology 114 computer cluster

Geology Corner room 114 is a general use drop-in computer cluster for the exclusive use of undergraduates who are majoring in an Earth Sciences department or program. There are four computers with a selection of software.

High Performance Network File Server

The School maintains a high capacity and high performance network file server,, that provides generous free data storage for individual and research group use. Its purpose is to provide a central repository of protected shareable disk storage that can be accessed from any computer on the network.

Microchemical Analysis Facility

The Stanford Mineral and Microchemical Analysis Facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art JEOL JXA-8230 “SuperProbe” electron microprobe.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Mitchell A65 Computer Classroom

This computer cluster is designed for instructional use. The classroom features 20 dual-boot PCs (Mac and Windows) and a video projection system. When not scheduled for a class the room is available for drop-in use by all faculty and students in Earth Sciences. Contact the A65 lab manager with any questions.

Noble Gas Lab

The Stanford Noble Gas Laboratory produces high-quality 40Ar/39Ar & (U-Th)/He data for geochronologic & thermochronologic applications in the Earth Sciences.  The laboratory is open to all Stanford researchers to perform their own analyses under the supervision of laboratory personnel.  Based upon time availability researchers from other institutions may also gain access to the laboratory. All potential users must submit a request form.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Other School Computing Facilities

The School maintains and provides many other specialized computational facilities, including

  • Its own web server (
  • A backup service for faculty and staff workstations
  • An anonymous ftp service to exchange files with non-Stanford colleagues
  • A "Subversion" server for managing the source code for programming projects
  • ... And many others.

The School's IT staff also provide technical support to individuals and research groups in the School.

Shared Field Measurement Facility

The Shared Field Measurement Facility's primary aim is to provide support, education, and technical expertise to members of the Stanford community interested in or needing to conduct field-based research or teaching. The facility houses a range of geophysical, GPS, and surveying equipment, as well as field computer options for data logging or mapping.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Spatial Analysis Center

The Spatial Analysis Center is a shared facility of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences that supports research on environmental changes based on remote sensing and geographic information systems. It provides state-of-the-art equipment and expertise for Stanford researchers who conduct geospatial analyses. Ongoing research projects at SAC combine remote sensing data from optical sensors at high to coarse spatial resolutions with data from a variety of other datasources.

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Stanford Center for Computational Earth and Environmental Science (CEES)

CEES integrates Earth science and computer science to build capacity in computational methods for the Earth and environmental sciences, and to enable new growth in areas where computational activities already exist. The three units of CEES—Research, HPTC, and Education—work together to fill the gap between applied mathematics and the Earth sciences. Combining a strong focus on scientific applications with state-of-the-art hardware and computational methods, CEES is pushing forward the frontiers of computational geoscience and engaging computer scientists and architects to design software and hardware better suited for Earth and environmental science problems.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Stanford Geospatial Center

A eographicalg information systems (GIS) lab is maintained in Branner Library, and is available for students and researchers. This includes GIS hardware, software and data sets as well as technical support and consultations.

Stanford ICP-MS/TIMS Facility

The ICPMS/TIMS Facility, also known as the Plasma Lab, is a state-of-the-art facility for the analysis of isotopes and trace elements using mass spectrometry. The array of equipment in the laboratory includes a Nu AttoM high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), a Nu Plasma HR multi-collector ICP-MS, a Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer (TIMS) and a specially designed Picotrace metal-free low particulate clean laboratory. The facility is open to collaboration with members of the Stanford community.

Affiliated Faculty: 

Stanford Rock Physics Lab (SRPL)

The research at the Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory focuses on experiments designed to understand the connections between geophysical properties measured at the surface of the Earth or within boreholes with the intrinsic properties of rocks – i.e., mineralogy, porosity, pore fluids, stress conditions, and the overall rock architecture such as laminations, fractures, and the intricate pore network.

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Stanford-USGS Microanalytical Center (SUMAC)

The SHRIMP-RG (Sensitive High Resolution Ion Micro Probe-Reverse Geometry) laboratory is operated in a partnership between the Stanford University School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey. The unique ion optic design of SHRIMP-RG permits simultaneous, high-spatial resolution measurement of U-Th-Pb ages and trace element compositions from nanogram-scale volumes to determine crystallization histories of crustal and surface materials. 

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