Research Areas - What we do...


Dr. Steer’s research and teaching interests in this area focus on using multi-channel resistivity and ground penetrating radar to explore the shallow subsurface to solve environmental problems. Ground penetrating radar provides centimeter-scale images of the upper few meters of the earth; electrical resistivity surveys can image subsurface changes to depths of 30 meters. These systems can be used to detect variations in lithology, buried objects, void spaces and migrating fluids.

Surficial Processes


Deep Earth Processes

Dr Holyoke's research and teaching interests are in the general area of structural geology applied to solving problems related to the physical and chemical evolution of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle. His group uses a combination of active testing of how changing variables in experiments affects the microstructures that develop due to specific deformation mechanisms. They also use observational analysis of naturally deformed rocks to constrain the conditions that produce these same microstructures in nature. Understanding these grain-scale processes contributes to our understanding of larger scale processes and controls on plate tectonics.

Dr. Steer’s research and teaching interests in this area focus on interpreting the nature and tectonic significance of deep crustal and upper mantle reflections recorded on deep seismic reflection profiles. The research involves analysis of data collected in a variety of tectonic settings using traditional seismic arrays recording reflections up to 60 seconds after source initiation. These records display intriguing signals to deps as great as 225 km. Understanding these signals contributes to our understanding of the nature of deep crustal and upper mantle processes.

Associated Laboratories and Equipment

Computer Facilities

  • Research and teaching computer laboratories - approximately 30 multimedia computers with direct Internet connections
  • Digitizers, digital cameras, flat-bed and slide scanners - for image processing
  • Geoscience visualization laboratory with three Sun Ultra-10 computers
  • Large format color ink jet plotter - for poster presentations
  • Petroleum geology and computer mapping software (Geographix, Geoquest, ArcView)

Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory

Scanning Electron Microscopy is an integral part of many aspects of research in geology, biology, chemistry, engineering, physics and polymer sciences.  Our facility supports an FEI (formerly Philips) Quanta 200 Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope and EDS attachment.  This is facility, services the entire UA community and the surrounding northeastern Ohio region.

ESEM affords the user the ability to image wet, oily, dirty, uncoated specimens in their natural state, without the need for a high vacuum and electrical conductivity required by a conventional SEM.  ESEM technologies allow the sample to be exposed to a range of pressures, temperatures and gas compositions.  The tolerance of gases at pressures above 4.6 Torr allows saturated vapor pressures to be maintained at temperatures above freezing, thus allowing the presence of liquid water and precluding the need to dry specimens before imaging them.  An ESEM also allows the environment to be altered within the sample chamber, enabling the ESEM to serve as an experimental chamber, allowing direct visualization of dynamic processes.  An ESEM has the high resolution capability to obtain high quality images of uncoated, hydrated samples in a low-vacuum environment, opening a vast array of research opportunities, extending the capabilities of electron imaging to new frontiers.

Our facility is available to researchers from the Northeast Ohio area.  If you have a question about our ESEM and whether it will fulfill your imaging and analytical needs, please feel free to contact us.  We will be happy to answer any questions that you might have.

This lab was created with the support of NSF EAR Grant 0320898.


  • Internal user rate without technician-$35/hr
  • Internal user rate with technician-$50/hr
  • External user rate without technician– $85/hr
  • External user rate with technician- $100/hr

Contact us

Mr. Thomas J. Quick
330 972-6935

Petrographic Laboratory

  • X-ray diffraction system - determines mineral phases in powdered samples
  • Image analyzer Cathodluminoscope - identifies mineral phases in thin sections
  • Research microscopes, rock saws and automated thin section equipment - for preparation of rock and mineral specimens

Geophysics Equipment

Equipment is used for measuring the geophysical properties of surficial deposits and shallow features such as buried valleys.

  • Gravimeter
  • Resistivity Transmitter and Receiver
  • Portable 12-Channel Seismograph
  • Magnetometers

Geochemistry Laboratory

Equipment is used to determine chemical composition of natural waters and analyzing organic compounds.

  • Inductively coupled plasma spectrometer (ICP)
  • Atomic absorption spectrometer (AA)
  • Ion chromatograph
  • Gas chromatograph
  • Coal analyzer and oxygen bomb calorimeter - for coal analyses

Field Equipment

  • Two passenger vans
  • A four-wheel-drive vehicle
  • Portable rock corer - collects rock samples up to 18 inches long and 1 inch in diameter
  • Giddings soil probe - core samples of glacial deposits up to 40 feet long
  • Flow meter - measures stream velocity
  • Dissolve oxygen meter, pH meter and conductivity meter
  • A variety of sediment piston corers
  • Magnetic susceptibility bridge

Environmental Magnetics Laboratory

Magnetic susceptibility can be measured on whole-cores and also at very high resolution of split cores. Subsamples can be measured for the frequency dependence of susceptibility. A Molspin magnetometer is used to measure the magnetic remanence. An AF demagnetizer with ARM attachment allows both the demagnetization of samples and imparting of an ARM. A pulse magnetizer is used to impart the samples with an IRM. The measurement of the full hysteresis loop, on samples as small as a few milligrams, is accomplished with an alternating gradient magnetometer.

This lab has been constructed with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the State of Ohio.

  • Bartington Instruments MS2 Magnetic susceptibility system with 2 loop sensors, high-resolution surface scanning sensor and dual frequency single sample sensor.
  • Molspin Spinner Magnetometer
  • Dtech 2000 AF demagnetizer capable of AF fields to 200 mT as well as both ARM and pARM
  • ASC IM10-30 Impulse Magnetizer with 2 coil (fields to 12 kGauss) and a 1.25 coil (fields to 26 kGauss)
  • Magnetic Measurements Ltd. fluxgate controlled Low Field 2.5 m3 Cage
  • Princeton Measurements Corp. Alternating Gradient Magnetometer