This award will permit the acquisition of a multi-collector, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer coupled with a laser ablation system (LA-MC-ICPMS) for research, education, and training in Earth, Environmental, and Anthropological Sciences at Washington State University. The instrumentation will be utilized in diverse applications by a team of researchers seeking to address problems across a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines including geochemistry, geochronology, petrology, volcanology, tectonics, fish ecology, archeology, and anthropology. The LA-MC-ICPMS will be housed in the existing ICP-MS laboratory within the GeoAnalytical Laboratory (GAL) in the School of the Environment. This laboratory has not only provided data and research training for students and faculty at WSU, but has also served as an analytical center, supporting the research needs of many outside users.
Fundamental research problems to be addressed include chemical evolution of the Earth, geochronology of metamorphic processes, models for mountain belt formation and deformation, salmon migration and life history, and ancient human migration and trade. The instrument will allow improved access to a wide range of isotope systems and methods: zircon Hf isotope geochemistry by LA-MC-ICPMS and solution MC-ICPMS; zircon U-Pb geochronology by LA-ICPMS; whole-rock Hf, Nd, Pb and Sr isotope geochemistry; Lu-Hf and Sm-Nd garnet, lawsonite and apatite geochronology; Sr isotope analysis by LA-MC-ICPMS on minerals, fish otoliths, and archeological artifacts; and laser ablation split stream (LASS) techniques including U-Pb and Hf isotopes in zircon and U-Pb and Nd isotopes in monazite and other accessory minerals.