On Monday 1 December, the Ocean & Climate Change group at the Research School of Earth Sciences took delivery of an AVAATECH X-Ray Fluorescence core scanner. This instrument complements the wide equipment-base of RSES in providing the capacity to perform elemental line-scans on split sediment cores and smoothed surfaces of stalagmites, corals, rocks, etc. It is also equipped with a regular colour or UV camera for high-resolution images that can be exactly cross-referenced with the elemental scans. All analyses are completely non-destructive to the samples.
The instrument routinely resolves elements heavier than magnesium. The AVAATECH scanner is the only type of XRF core scanner that has a well-established reputation for routinely and reproducibly resolving aluminium counts on sediment cores, which is critical for normalisation of environmental records obtained from this sort of equipment. This makes it a key asset for marine and lake sediment core studies, and we hope to develop a strong relationships amongst Australian and New Zealand researchers, as well as other initiatives related to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP).
The new instrument at RSES is AVAATECH’s first in the Southern Hemisphere, and it will be bookable for all users in the wider community on a basis of a daily rate and negotiated scientific collaboration. Users will be expected to participate in the analytical operations under supervision of the facility’s manager, Dr. Katharine Grant. Contributors to the purchase will receive booking priority, and other users will be slotted in on a first-come-first-served basis.
Installation has been successful, and we are now going into a test and validation phase. Bookings can be taken already, but we anticipate that the facility will become fully operational from 1 February.