shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


Page address:

Ford Hall

Ford HallThe Chemistry and Geology Department occupies nearly all of Ford Hall, constructed in 2008. In addition to spacious and well-supplied teaching and research labs, the facility boasts a first-rate rock park that represents the geology of Minnesota.

Geology Program Equipment

Rigaku Ultima 4 X-ray diffractometerWe possess or have ready access to the equipment and instrumentation needed to support a comprehensive geology program.

We recently acquired a state-of-the-art Rigaku Ultima 4 X-ray diffractometer (pictured above), with which we can not only identify minerals but also study a number of aspects of their atomic structures. The Chemistry and Geology Department also houses an X ray fluoroscope, with which we can chemically analyze rocks to investigate a wide array of geologic processes. We also have a Linkam fluid inclusion heating/freezing stage, a cathodoluminescence stage, a Sedigraph for particle size analysis, and a Total Organic Carbon analyzer. We have complete facilities for preparing thin sections for microscope work. And, our growing inventory of equipment for hydrologic and soil studies ensures students get hands-on experience with the same tools they will eventually use on jobs out in the real world. Students also employ state-of-the-art software in course projects in hydrogeology, petroleum geology, and engineering geology.

We have plenty of supplies, including a complete teaching collection of minerals, rocks, and fossils. We are also very fortunate to host the personal collection of the late James Heles, an avid mineral collector whose family was gracious enough to give us his entire collection of rare and spectacular specimens.

Affiliated Program Equipment

Culvert FlowAffiliated programs at MSU Mankato helps us out a lot with our teaching and research equipment needs. In the Department of Chemistry and Geology, we have access to Gas Chromatographs and Atomic Absorption analyzers, among other instruments of use in Geology research. We also have access to a Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (in the Biology Department), GPS receivers, water quality instruments, and other field and laboratory instrumentation. In the picture on the left, an MSU Mankato student assesses agricultural loads to local rivers with the assistance of equipment from the Geography Department.