Science Center Objects

The Core Laboratories Project is a research support service of the WHCMSC which provides analytical and technical infrastructure, and supports of a range of projects associated with Coastal Biogeochemical Processes, Coastal Groundwater, Climate-Hydrates, and Sedimentology.

The Core Laboratories Project is a research support service of the WHCMSC which provides analytical and technical infrastructure, and supports of a range of projects associated with Coastal Biogeochemical Processes, Coastal Groundwater, Climate-Hydrates, and Sedimentology.

Ion Chromatograph

 Major ions such as Sulfate and Chloride are measured with an Ion Chromatograph

Geochemistry Lab

The Geochemistry lab provides high-quality geochemical data through processing and analyses of groundwater, surface water, sediment, and gas samples for a wide array of dissolved nutrients, carbon, radiochemical age-dating and stable isotopes. 

Coupled with expertise in deployment of multi-parameter optical sensors, we have the unique capability to make direct measurements of lateral fluxes to/from coastal wetlands of dissolved fractions of carbon and nutrients over longer time-scales.

Carbon Analysis

USGS-WHOI Dissolved Carbon Isotope Lab (DCIL) We maintain the capability for analysis of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and stable carbon isotope analysis through a cooperative agreement with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) using equipment provided and jointly maintained by the USGS and WHOI. Through this cooperative, we also have access to instrumentation that allows us to measure carbon isotope of gases and semi-volatile compounds by gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry.

Radiochemistry

 USGS/WHOI Gamma-counting and Radium-counting facility is used to measure the gamma emissions from dried sediment material for the determination of chronologies for sediment studies (210Pb, 137Cs, 234Th). Radium measurements of short-lived radium and radon isotope activities from water samples determine groundwater input to the coastal zone.

Measuring water quality data, Cape Cod, MA

Wally Brooks records water quality data from a salt marsh creek (Cape Cod, MA)

Nutrients and Water Quality

The Geochemistry Group maintains a number of multi-parameter water quality field sensors and ADCP’s which can be deployed for weeks or months at a time in surface water or in wells. These measure chemical parameters including Conductivity, Temperature, Depth, flow, pH, Turbidity, chlorophyll, Dissolved Oxygen, Dissolved Organic Matter (fDOM) and CO2.

The lab also maintains a discrete nutrient analyzer for the analysis of Nitrate, Phosphorus, Ammonium and Silica, and an Ion Chromatograph for measuring major ions such as Sulfate and Chloride.

Sediment Core Sub-Sampling and Preparation

Sediment cores are sectioned, sub-sampled and processed at the WHSC for further analysis. Our labs contain freeze-drying and sediment grinding capabilities and the WHSC Sediment Lab conducts testing of physical properties such as grain-size distribution.

In addition to capabilities mentioned above, the Geochemistry Lab also maintains the following facilities on a continuing basis:

  • DMA-80 mercury analyzer for measuring mercury distribution in fish and sediments.
  • A class 10,000 ultra-clean space, providing particle- and contaminant-free space for low-level sample prep
A Sontek IQ ADCP measures depth and velocity of a salt marsh creek (Cape Cod, MA)

A Sontek IQ ADCP measures depth and velocity of a salt marsh creek (Cape Cod, MA)