School of GeoSciences


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.


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The TAU provides a service to researchers and students from earth and environmental sciences and archaeology and facilitates components of many research programmes each year, spanning applications in physical volcanology, Holocene climate change and dating of cultural remains. It has been actively engaged in the development of improved methods for the microanalysis and preparation of tephras since the 1990s. Recent developments include analytical protocols for analysis of crypto-tephras with beam diameters as low as 3 microns without sodium loss, and preparation of crypto-tephras with grain sizes below 50 microns.


The TAU is equipped with a world-class Cameca SX100 electron probe microanalysis instrument which features five wavelength dispersive spectrometers, energy dispersive spectrometer and is operated by the latest version of Cameca’s Windows-based Peak Sight software. Off-line data processing using Peak Sight is available.



Contact Information

Dr Christopher Hayward

Contact details



Grant Institute,
James Hutton Road
School of GeoSciences,
University of Edinburgh,
Kings Buildings
West Mains Road, Edinburgh. EH9 3FE