Major Research Infrastructures in EOAS

PCIGR - Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research

The Pacific Centre for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR) officially opened on Dec. 12, 2002 and has immediately become a major regional geochemical analytical facility. Housed at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the centre serves the research needs of investigators from western Canadian universities (UBC, Simon Fraser University - SFU, University of Victoria - UVic), several government agencies, the mineral and environmental industries, and the international research community. The PCIGR is a unique research facility within western Canada and provides analytical instrumentation critical for resolving problems in the solid earth, ocean and environmental sciences. The combination of six mass spectrometers together with sample preparation laboratories and the research team that has been assembled to support it makes this facility critical to the research of numerous scientists. The PCIGR has been extensively used by students, researchers, and international scientists and is already producing data that have been presented at numerous recent national and international conferences.
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GDCFDC - Geophysical Disaster Computational Fluid Dynamics Centre

The Geophysical Disaster Computational Fluid Dynamics Centre (GeoDisaster Centre) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) studies weather-related and other natural disasters, with an ultimate goal of enhancing the Canadian economy and saving lives. The major tool of the GeoDisaster Centre is a massively-parallel high-performance computer (HPC), which is used to solve fluid-flow equations describing weather, avalanches, forest fires, earthquakes and other natural phenomena. This research focuses on disasters that affect the complex mountainous and coastal terrain of Western Canada.

EESF - Environmental Earth Sciences Facility

EESF studies the medium and large-scale dynamics of the lake, ocean, and atmospheric systems. The guiding principle in our work is that an understanding of physical mechanisms is key to eventual understanding of not only their physical evolution but also of at least some aspects of their bio/chemical evolution. Work ranges from theoretical to observational but tends to be rooted in the problems that arise from analysis of real data. Collaborations are carried out with other scientists specializing in biological oceanography, atmospheric science, and fluids engineering, mostly in the government or academic research environment. Some work is also carried out with private industry in environmental impacts. Funding is generally from government sources.

BCOC - Biological and Chemical Oceanography Complex

The chemical and biological economy of the oceans constitutes a core focus for research into the distribution and cycling of materials at Earth's surface. New knowledge of the behaviour and the exchanges of elements and isotopes between the ocean, the atmosphere, the land surface and Earth's interior is urgently required to further our understanding of the controls on ecosystem function, climate change, and natural and anthropogenic fluxes of materials so that the impacts of human activities on the surface environment can be ameliorated and predicted with greater confidence. This requires tight collaboration between biologists, chemists, geologists and physicists in studies of the complex interactions between Earth's surface environments.

CESL - Centre for Experimental Study of the Lithosphere

The Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences housed a collection of instruments that measure the physical properties of rocks in both static and dynamic states to provide rate laws, empirical relationships and define new mechanistic descriptions of the behaviour and evolution of earth materials. This substantial research expertise is nationally unique, but it developed incrementally and separately in several different research groups. In 2004, UBC committed space and funds to create a new laboratory to support high-temperature and high-pressure experimentation: the Centre for Experimental Studies of the Lithosphere (CESL). The lab now houses equipment for research in petrology, geochemistry, structural geology and volcanology. As a catalyst for this initiative to consolidate and build critical mass, UBC has refurbished a lab space. This involved repainting, re-wiring, upgrading water and compressed air systems, and moving all relevant experimental equipment to the new space. This investment should pay dividends by providing a research and learning environment that will foster collaborative research.

EM/XDF - Electron Microbeam / X-Ray Diffraction Facility

The Electron Microbeam/X-ray Diffraction Facility is an integration of three laboratories comprising the following instruments: Cameca electron microprobe, Philips XL-30 scanning electron microscope/Princeton Gamma-Tech energy-disperision X-ray spectrometer, a Bruker X-ray powder diffractometer, and a Philips X-ray generator for powder and single-crystal cameras. Two preparation laboratories with a carbon evaporator unit, micronising mill, and other miscellaneous equipment, support these operations.

EIL - Environmental Interfaces Laboratory

Environmental interfaces are defined as regions along which different compartments of the hydrologic system meet and interact. These compartments include the saturated zone of aquifers, the vadose zone in unconfined aquifers, surficial soils, and surface water bodies, including rivers, lakes and oceans. Processes in these compartments are often studied in isolation. However, it is common that the degree of reactivity is highest at the interfaces between the compartments. As a result, processes at environmental interfaces play an important role in local, regional and global chemical balances, and can have significant impacts on the fate of both organic and inorganic nutrients and contaminants migrating from one compartment to another.