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Soils and Sediment Laboratory

The Soils and Sediment Laboratory in the Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, Denver Colorado, supports the study of soils, sediments, and rocks through physical and chemical analyses.

General sample preparation capabilities include standard laboratory processes such as drying, sieving, grinding, and splitting, as well as more specialized tasks that include carbonate and organic matter removal, freeze-drying, and acid leaching. A laser diffraction system is available for rapid, high-precision, particle-size analysis. Other technical capabilities include carbonate content, bulk density, hygroscopic moisture content, total dissolved solids, and salt and gypsum contents. The laboratory also supports palynology studies, microfaunal analysis, and biomass determinations. Beyond standard practices, the Soils and Sediment Laboratory develops new and innovative methods and techniques that allow the USGS to study a variety of aspects of ecosystems in arid and semiarid environments.