DSCN1788         DSCN1799

Left: Kiel IV carbonate device with Delta V Plus Mass Spectrometer; Right: TC/EA and NA2000 Elemental Analyzer.


About LVIS

The Las Vegas Isotope Science Laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art light stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) and peripheral devices. The lab is located in room 3111 of the 208,000 ft2 Science and Engineering Building on the UNLV Campus that was completed in 2009.


The lab is equipped with a ThermoElectron Delta V Plus mass spectrometer that operates in both dual inlet and continuous flow mode, the latter via a ConFlo III interface.


For analyses of carbonates for δ18O and δ13C, the lab utilizes a Kiel IV automated carbonate preparation device connected to the mass spec via the dual inlet.


For δ18O and δD analyses of water and solids, the lab uses a ThermoElectron Thermal Conversion Elemental Analyzer (TC/EA) operating in continuous flow mode with a He carrier gas. The TC/EA uses a CTC Analytics GC PAL A200S autosampler for sample injection, and has been modified with a bottom-feed Helium flow to improve analytical precision.


δ13C and δ15N are routinely measured on a Costech NA 2000 Elemental Analyzer operating in continuous flow mode with He carrier gas. Elemental weight % is also measured.


Other equipment

The LVIS lab also includes equipment for precise micromilling of rock samples, including a Sherline 5410 mill (photo), capable of achieving 50 micron spacing on slabbed stalagmite sections; a Merchantek computer-controlled micromilling device, and hand-held drills. The lab is also equipped with numerous thin section microscopes, including a Petroscope, binocular picking scope, and transmitted light microscopes.


The LVIS Lab was funded by the EAR/IF program at the National Science Foundation in 2005, with matching contributions from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The lab was installed in Spring of 2006.


The lab directors are Drs. Jiang and Lachniet of the Geoscience Department at UNLV.




About the LVIS Logo: The image in the upper left of the web page shows Elvis Presley playing a ukulele, from which emanates the musical notation for “Viva Las Vegas”, expressed with δ notation on the bass clef.  Elvis was the inspiration for the lab’s acronym, because he is a legend who achieved considerable fame by performing live for tourists in Las Vegas. We elected to place Elvis against the backdrop of Diamond Head on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, to reflect the many Las Vegans with roots on the islands. The image was realized by Alex Roy and Lachniet.