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New electron microprobe installed at Menlo Park

On March 25th, the USGS California Volcano Observatory celebrated the delivery of a new 'baby' - our brand new electron microprobe is finally up and running!

A boxy microprobe with multiple electron-producing tubes sits next to a desk with two wide monitors and two empty chairs
The full setup for the electron microprobe in Menlo Park, CA, including a computer with JEOL, Thermo, and Probe for EPMA software. 

The new JEOL JXA-8530 F+ electron microprobe took its first 'official' measurements on an olivine crystal. This powerful instrument uses a focused electron beam to excite (energize) the electrons in atoms on the surface of materials. When the electrons return to their un-excited state, they emit x-rays that can reveal the chemical makeup of their material. The new microprobe will provide researchers with an important tool for understanding magmatic processes including magma generation, storage conditions, migration timing, and eruption processes. 

The microprobe is available for use by both USGS and outside researchers, so contact Dawn Ruth ( for information about availability and pricing.