Teaching Laboratories

Geoscience rock garden

World-class analytical and computing facilities support the Earth and Atmospheric Science Department's teaching and research programs.

Learn more about these facilities in the lists below.

Computing Facilities

The EAS Department maintains two instructional computer laboratories: Junior and Senior Undergraduate Computer Labs. Both labs are equipped with modern PC workstations and high-resolution monitors. All computers are part of a high-speed campus-wide network and provide access to the departmental file and application servers as well as other resources available through IST.

Both computer labs are outfitted with card-swipe access and available 7:00 A.M. - 11:00 P.M. (except for scheduled class sessions). 

For any concerns about hardware/software, please submit a ticket or contact IST.


Tory 2-87

Junior Undergraduate Lab (33 workstations)

The junior undergraduate computer laboratory is located in Room 2-87 in the Tory Building and serves as a primary facility for our introductory courses. It contains 32 workstations for students as well as the instructor's PC.

Professional software in this facility helps students and instructors in achieving high educational standards:

ArcGIS is a geographic information system (GIS) for working with maps and geographic information. It is used for creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, sharing and discovering geographic information, using maps and geographic information in a range of applications, and managing geographic information in a database.

ArcSWAT is an ArcGIS-ArcView extension and graphical user input interface for SWAT.

The Beyond 20/20 Professional Browser is a desktop environment for data distribution. It presents data in a friendly, easy-to-understand format and enables data users to view, chart, map, analyze, export, print, and save data, quickly and easily.

BIOSCREEN-AT is a screening-level model developed for and distributed by the EPA that simulates remediation through natural attenuation of dissolved hydrocarbons at petroleum fuel release sites.

CPC Lite is a web browser add-on providing powerful image viewing capabilities for documents stored in the CPC file format. CPC Lite supports sophisticated, best-of-breed features such as document navigation, progressive image display, scaling, rotation, anti-aliased images in both a page view and thumbnail view, and much more.

CorelDraw is a vector graphics editor developed and marketed by Corel Corporation. It is also the name of Corel's Graphics Suite, which bundles CorelDraw with bitmap-image editor Corel Photo-Paint as well as other graphics-related programs.

ENVI image analysis software is used by GIS professionals, scientists, and image analysts to extract meaningful information from imagery to make better decisions. ENVI can be deployed and accessed from the desktop, in the cloud, and on mobile devices, and can be customized through an API to meet specific project requirements.

ERDAS Imagine is a remote sensing application with raster graphics editor abilities designed by ERDAS for geospatial applications.

GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.

geoSCOUT is a powerful visualization, analysis, and forecasting suite for Windows with a huge library of premium data. Thousands of energy professionals trust geoSCOUT to map oil and gas plays, see trends, understand reservoirs, plan for the future, and make mission-critical decisions.


Hydrus is a suite of Windows-based modeling software that can be used for analysis of water flow, heat and solute transport in variably saturated porous media.

SPSS Statistics is leading statistical software used to solve a variety of business and research problems. It provides a range of techniques including ad-hoc analysis, hypothesis testing and reporting – making it easier to manage data, select and perform analyses, and share your results.

MATLAB (matrix laboratory) is a multi-paradigm numerical computing environment. A proprietary programming language developed by MathWorks, MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, Fortran and Python.

Petra is a software solution for managing, manipulating and visualizing integrated geological, geophysical and engineering data. Geologists, engineers, technicians and analysts use Petra for exploration, exploitation, infill drilling, reserves analysis, unconventional plays, production analysis and more.

GPM software is a simulator for forward modeling of stratigraphic and sedimentary processes that is tightly integrated with the Petrel E&P software platform. It improves reservoir prediction through the identification of sediment geometries and lithology distributions in both clastic and carbonate environments.

RStudio is an integrated development environment (IDE) for R. It includes a console, syntax-highlighting editor that supports direct code execution, as well as tools for plotting, history, debugging and workspace management.

Easily communicate both simple and complex spatial data. Surfer gives you the tools to create high-quality maps to clearly deliver your message to coworkers, clients, and stakeholders.

More than 80 tools and functions for spatial analysis, shape conversions and table management in ArcGIS.

CCIS L1-219

Senior Undergraduate Lab (40 workstations)

The senior undergraduate computer laboratory is located in room L1-219 in the CCIS and includes 39 students' workstations as well as instructor's PC. This lab is primarily intended for teaching of senior-undergraduate and graduate-level courses and provides professional GIS, Remote Sensing, and graphical software.

In addition to ArcGIS, ArcSWAT, BIOSCREEN-AT, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X5, ENVI, ERDAS 2011, GIMP, IBM SPSS Statistics, and Petra from the Junior Undergraduate Computer Lab, the Senior Lab machines also have the following software:

EllipseFit is an integrated program for geological finite strain analysis. It is used to derive two and three-dimensional strain from oriented photographs of thin sections, hand samples, or outcrop surfaces, and is designed for laboratory and field based structural geology studies. The intuitive graphical interface and multi-platform deployment also make it ideal for teaching introductory or advanced structural geology laboratories.

GPlates is open-source application software offering a novel combination of interactive plate-tectonic reconstructions, geographic information system functionality and raster data visualization.

GPSBabel converts waypoints, tracks, and routes between popular GPS receivers such as Garmin or Magellan and mapping programs like Google Earth or Basecamp.

RIEGL's proprietary Software is the ideal companion software for RIEGL laser scanners. Separate programs designed for the different applications of terrestrial and airborne/mobile laser scanning enable to use the scanners' capabilities in the best possible way, from optimizing the acquisition workflow in the field, via providing tools for data control, right to providing a variety of functions for data processing. Furthermore, smooth data transfer to numerous third party post-processing packages.

SeisWare offers you a complete 2D and 3D seismic interpretation system. Even better, we're always adding new features and functionality - all of which are included in your annual subscription. We don't believe in add-ons.

SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design.

SpheriStat 3.2 for Windows is an integrated, powerful and easy-to-use analytical tool for making stereonets, structural maps and rose diagrams, with lots of display, printout and export options.

Geoscience Garden

The site alongside Saskatchewan Drive is the first phase of a larger Geoscience Garden project. Eventually, rocks will be installed in an area extending north and south of the Earth Science Building and adjacent to the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science. The samples will be landscaped to make an aesthetically pleasing environment.

Using this garden, students can learn basic skills in advance of geological field courses, and members of the University community and the public can learn about their geological heritage.

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Mineralogy Undergraduate Laboratory

Students gain hands-on experience in mineral identification using a working hand sample collection of over 150 different minerals and in crystallography using more than 100 three-dimensional ball-and-spoke models, which depict the atomic bonding of different crystal structures. The Mineralogy Undergraduate Laboratory also houses Ward's Mineral Collection containing over 430 samples and a display unit exhibiting various diagnostic properties of minerals. Optical mineralogy is undertaken by students using Nikon ECLIPSE E400 POL Polarizing Microscopes.

A Nikon Polarizing Microscope, equipped with a digital camera, and an ELMO P10 Visual Presenter are used to not only to capture images of thin sections and hand samples but to view real time images on a LCD projection screen and on a 30-inch wide TFT-LCD monitor. The 2560 x 1600 maximum resolution of the monitor allows for true replication of the microscope image.

Location: ESB 3-04

Ore Deposits Undergraduate Laboratory

The Ore Deposits Undergraduate Laboratory contains a total of eleven Nikon ECLIPSE 50i POL Polarizing Microscopes, each equipped with a Nikon LV-UEPI Universal Epi Illuminator, allowing for a quick and easy transition between transmitted and reflected light microscopy.

A digital camera connected to one of these microscopes allows instructors and students to view real time images on a 30-inch wide TFT-LCD monitor or LCD projection screen as well as capture and store images. The 2560 x 1600 maximum resolution of the monitor allows for true replication of the microscope image. An ELMO P10 Visual Presenter is used to project real time images of hand specimens on the LCD projection screen, and also to capture these images. Samples from over 100 ore suites collected from around the world are housed and viewed in this lab.

Location: ESB 3-07

Petrology Undergraduate Laboratory

Students refine their petrographic skills in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology using one of twenty Nikon ECLISPSE 50i POL Polarizing Microscopes.

The Petrology Undergraduate Laboratory utilizes a Nikon Polarizing Microscope, equipped with a digital camera, and an ELMO P10 Visual Presenter to capture images of thin sections and hand samples but also to view real time images on a LCD projection screen and 30-inch wide TFT-LCD monitor. The 2560 x 1600 maximum resolution of the monitor allows for true replication of the microscope image. Collections of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary hand samples and thin sections are housed and viewed in this lab.

Location: ESB 3-12

Physical Geography Laboratory

This lab is a teaching facility for the department, but it also contains facilities for the analysis of grain-size properties of the coarser fractions of sediments and soils (by wet and dry sieving). The lab houses a range of instruments and equipment for routine analysis of water a nd sediment chemistry (e.g., spectrophotometers, titration equipment, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen meters). The lab is used by graduate students, and by undergraduates taking courses in geomorphology and biogeography.

Location: Tory 3-80

Shell Canada Core Viewing Facility

The Shell Canada Core Viewing Facility was established in 2003 with the gift of over 6000 m of drill core, twenty layout tables and associated funding from Shell Canada Limited. The drill core donated by Shell Canada forms the foundation of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences' drill core collection. The Department's existing teaching and research core collections have been integrated with this donation creating a comprehensive collection.

The drill core is a valuable asset and greatly enhances Earth and Atmospheric Sciences' teaching and research programs. The support of Shell Canada has provided an important facility in which to train students in reservoir description and provides them the opportunity to gain "hands-on" experience with subsurface core.

The Facility was first located in the South Lab building, but was moved in 2005 to the basement of the South Academic Building. The facility comprises three principal areas: the classroom in room B-26, the research area in room B-22, and the core archive in room B-04. The archive houses the collection on reinforced steel and wood racking. The research area provides the principal layout space, temporary shelving, and houses some specialized analytical equipment. The classroom is used both for scheduled laboratory sessions, and as additional layout space.

The collection of drill core originates mainly from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, with a focus on core from Saskatchewan. The materials include carbonate, clastic, and evaporite sequences as well as shorter cores from the oil sands of northern Alberta.

B-26 SAB (Classroom)
B-22 SAB (Research Area)
B-04 SAB (Core Archive)

William C. Wonders Map Collection

The William C. Wonders Map Collection is one of the largest collections of cartographic materials in Canada. As part of the Science & Technology Library, the collection includes maps, atlases, globes, aerial photographs and other cartographic materials. While the emphasis of the collection is North American, it contains maps for all parts of the world and has strengths in the following areas: Western Canada, Northern Canada, Poland, Germany, France, and archival collections for Ukraine, British Isles, and Eastern Europe.

Location: Main Floor of Cameron Library

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