Geophysics Facilities

Brown is unusually well equipped for experimental studies. The high pressure, high-temperature experimental rock deformation laboratory has three Griggs-type piston-cylinder apparatus designed for conducting experiments at temperatures up to 1200ƒC, pressures up to 1500 MPa, and time durations up to several months. This allows study of the deformation mechanisms and rheology of rock samples at conditions including those of the entire crust and upper mantle.

The lab also has a unique high-pressure rotary-shear apparatus capable of doing rock friction experiments to arbitrarily high displacements and torsion of solid samples to arbitrarily high shear strains. This machine uses gas as the confining medium, has a flow-through pore-pressure system, features internal measurement of displacement, torque, and axial load, and is interfaced to a UNIX computer for digital data acquisition and control. Consequently it can measure the mechanical properties of rocks and minerals with unusually high precision.

The laboratory also has facilities for coring, sawing and grinding of experimental samples and for petrographic examination of the deformed samples. The Department has a thin-section lab and technician, a machine shop and machinist. A nearby central facility houses modern scanning and transmission electron microscopes.

Brown is also well equipped for theoretical and field studies.  Computer facilities include many high-end work stations, a departmental parallel computing facility, a variety of printers and access to the powerful campus parallel computing and visualization resources.  All the computers are networked for high-speed communication as well as internet connection with supercomputer centers across the country.

Equipment for field studies includes surveying equipment and both a portable rock saw with diamond blade and a portable diamond core drill.