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.
Deep Earth Processes
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
- 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
- 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
Equipment is used for measuring the geophysical properties of surficial deposits and shallow features such as buried valleys.
- Resistivity Transmitter and Receiver
- Portable 12-Channel Seismograph
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
- 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
- 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