A researcher examines coal cores in our Coal Laboratory.

Our Coal Laboratory is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for sample preparation and coal microscopy.

Undergraduates, postgraduates and post-doctoral researchers can use the laboratory. It is primarily a space for student learning, but external clients can also use it by appointment.

The facility consists of four main spaces within the Steele Building (Building 3):

  • the Sample Preparation Laboratory, which you can use for etching, polishing and extracting organic materials such as coal and shale
  • a dedicated research space, complete with classic layout tables, where you can discuss maps and core trays, computing facilities for 3-D correlation, and geological and geophysical modelling of coal measure systems
  • a petrographic microscope room
  • a storage room.

You can also use the facilities in our nearby geochemistry laboratories, including the Radiogenic Isotope Facility, the Stable Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory and the Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory.

To discuss your analytical requirements and sample preparation, email the Laboratory Manager.

For more details about specific facilities and pieces of equipment, see the table below.

Facilities and equipment

A researcher uses specialised equipmentStruers Tegra Pol-21 polishing and Tegra Doser-5 dosage machine

  • Specialised equipment for optional automatic or manual polishing of organic materials (coal and shale).
  • Equipped with two custom-made sample holders for rectangular (30mm x 50mm) and circular (30mm diameter) resin blocks.

The extraction unitSoxtec System HT extraction unit

  • For extracting organic compounds from organic material. (Image courtesy Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Science)

The petrographic microscopeLeica DM6000M petrographic microscope

  • The only microscope available at UQ capable of performing standard composition and maturity measurements for the analysis of organic material.
  • The microscope has an automatic stage, two objective settings (oil and air) for the examination of coal sections, and is equipped with two cameras (for monochromatic and colour/fluorescence imaging).
  • The microscope is linked to a computer with 'Fossil' software for sample analysis.
  • Accurate reflectance measurements can be obtained by calibrating images with a YAG (yittrium-aluminium-garnet) 0.908% reflectance standard.

surveying equipmentDifferential GPS

  • Surveying equipment with high accuracy (cm scale resolution) compared to hand-held GPS devices. (Image courtesy Paragon Instrumentation Engineers Private Limited)

Paradigm softwareComputers

Our range of computers installed with software (on academic licences) for geological and geophysical modelling include:

  • SKUA from the Paradigm Suite and Petrel from Schlumberger: to integrate subsurface data with geological interpretation into multiple realisations of the subsurface (Image courtesy Paradigm Ltd)
  • MOVE software: for Palinspastic reconstruction and forward modelling of structural domains, and CSIRO-developed LeCode and SedSIM for basins
  • Near-well bore analysis platforms, such as Techlog from Schlumberger and Geolog from Paradigm: for Petrophysical analysis, well log correlation and borehole image interpretation of acoustic logs which can be used to identify fractures, sedimentary structures and palaeocurrent directions
  • Facimage within Geolog: for electrofacies classification of litho and sedimentary facies, and coal lithotype classification
  • Intrepid, in combination with either Mapinfo or Arcmap GIS packages: for potential field data analysis to further our understanding of regional to local structural frameworks as input to static and dynamic models
  • Vulcan from Maptek, a mining software platform: for creating static 3-D models, accurate mine designs and operating plans
  • Golden Software Surfer, Voxler and Grapher programs: for interpretation and visualisation of spatial data

layout tablesLayout tables

  • Two layout tables for core and map viewing.

the storage facilityStorage facility

  • Ample space with compactus for sample and equipment storage.