2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


LAY, Kimberly A. and CATLOS, Elizabeth J., School of Geology, Oklahoma State Univ, 105 Noble Research Center, Stillwater, OK 74078, kalay@okstate.edu

The Electron Microprobe Laboratory was put into operation at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in 2002 after ConocoPhillips made a gracious contribution of a JEOL 733. In the Spring 2004, a course in Electron Microprobe Analysis was developed that allowed undergraduate as well as graduate students the opportunity to work hands on with the machine for the first time. This course is one of two offered in the Geology Department at OSU that provides undergraduates with a chance to work with state-of-the-art technical tools. Overall this class consisted of two undergraduate (one female, one male) and four graduate students (three male, one female).

Each student was given the opportunity to choose their own research project, and an alumnus proposed the analysis of dolomite grains from Oklahoma. The goal of the project was to characterize the dolomite using the electron microprobe, and to find out if the matrix of the grains contained trace amounts of iron. The project had a simple, straightforward goal, and the question could be answered over the course of one semester. Continuous X-ray spectra were produced for quantitative analysis, and backscattered electron images, element maps, and a 3-D element image were produced for qualitative analysis. Our results showed that no iron was located in the matrix, however several iron-rich minerals were present in the dolomite, including pyrite and iron oxide.

The course and project, both facilitated by OSU alumni, provided an excellent opportunity for undergraduate research. The small class size, hands-on work environment, personalized attention, and focused discussions are just a few of the benefits of this class that set it apart from a typical lecture-style course.