School of GeoSciences

Research and Teaching Facilities

We are exceptionally well-equipped with the latest technologies to enable our researchers to stay at the forefront of their fields.

The School houses an impressive range of facilities and services and is involved with a number of collaborative centres of research excellence. For example, we have a wide range of high-tech facilities for the analysis of rocks, minerals and fluids, for isotope analysis and measurement of the physical properties of rocks. We have excellent facilities and expertise for scientific computing, for instance in geographic information systems, meteorological models and geophysics. We also place a strong emphasis on field measurement techniques in ecological, atmospheric and earth sciences.

For teaching, Lecture Theatres are centrally managed and shared with other Schools. We have a number of dedicated and 'open' computing laboratories within School premises. Laboratories are managed by the School which enables us to provide Honours students with personal workspace.


National Services and Facilities

The School hosts and manages a number of National analytical facilities, mainly on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council. We are partners in:

School Services and Facilities

Airborne GeoSciences

The School of GeoSciences has a small aircraft to examine the lower atmosphere and its interactions with the land surface. The aeroplane can make measurements of trace gas concentrations up to about 10,000 feet asl and take images of the Earth's surface.

Audio Visual Conference Facility

The School of GeoSciences offers a state of the art Audio & Video Conferencing facility located in room 232 in the Grant Institute, Kings Bulidings.

Facilities for Chemical Analysis

The School houses a wide range of geochemical facilities which support research within the School. These facilities also support teaching programmes within the School of GeoSciences and provide an analytical service to other units within the University and other external research bodies.

The Cockburn Geological Museum

The Cockburn Museum at King's Buildings holds a very extensive collection of geological specimens and historical objects which reflect Edinburgh's prominent position in geological sciences since the time of James Hutton (1726-1797) and its continuing activity today.

Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory

The University of Edinburgh's Terrestrial Cosmogenic Nuclide Laboratory produces samples for the measurement of cosmogenic isotopes.

EMMAC: Micro-Analysis

The Edinburgh Materials and Micro-Analysis Centre exists to provide integrated and interdisciplinary facilities for the application of microbeam analytical techniques to material analysis.

Electron Probe Microanalysis Facility

The Electron Probe Microanalysis Facility features a world-class Cameca SX100 instrument and is located in the Grant Institute, School of GeoSciences, at the University of Edinburgh.

The NERC Recognised Experimental Geoscience Facility

The Experimental Geoscience laboratory suite is equipped to address a range of experimental investigations under conditions ranging from those characteristic of the Earth's immediate subsurface to deep Earth conditions.

Facility Documents and Information

Information regarding the Role and Structure of the Facilities Committee

Field Equipment

Information about the Field Equipment used for Teaching or Research


Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry

NERC Ion Micro-Probe Facility

The Facility carries out in-house research and provides a service to the earth and environmental science community. It is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The Ion Micro-Probe Facility is located in the School of GeoSciences, Grant Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

Wolfson Laboratory - Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry

The School has an established stable isotope laboratory, which was partially funded by the Wolfson Foundation when it was setup in 1996.

Mechanical Workshop

A job request form must be completed by all users of the Workshop Service. This may be obtained from the workshop staff or downloaded here :

Optical Microscope Laboratory

The optical microscopy laboratory is located in the School of GeoSciences and is used by undergraduate, postgraduate, research and teaching staff within the School.

Organic Geochemistry

An Organic Geochemistry laboratory housing wide-ranging analytical capabilities for extraction, separation, identification and quantification of a wide range of natural and contaminant chemicals, in addition to C and N elemental and stable isotopic analyses.

Sample Preparation Facility

The Sample Preparation facility in the School of GeoSciences, is an in-house facility offering a wide range of sample impregnation, cutting, grinding and polishing services for the preparation of geological samples. The expertise and services are also available for the preparation of other materials.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Facility

The facility supports in-house research and provides a service to the earth and environmental science community as well as to all units within Edinburgh University. The SEM is run in conjunction with the electron microprobe and ion microprobe units that together form a unique suite of analytical instruments.

School Geophysical Laboratories

Information about the facilities may be obtained by contacting:


The Tephra Analysis Unit (TAU), located at the School of Geosciences University of Edinburgh is an internationally recognised centre for the analysis of volcanic glasses and melt inclusions by electron probe microanalysis . The TAU has many clients from throughout the UK, and from countries including Sweden, Norway, Iceland, USA and Estonia.

X-Ray Diffraction Facility

The XRD is located in the Grant Institute, School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh . The facility supports internal and external research.

The X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) Facility

The X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer is located in the Grant Institute, School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh . The facility primarily supports research programmes within the School of GeoSciences but also provides an analytical service to the wider earth science, environmental and consultative communities.

Vehicle Pool

The Vehicle Pool provides a service for Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Grant funded fieldwork.