Laboratories for geology and reservoir

The Faculty of Science and Technology at UiS has several laboratories within the field of geology and reservoir. Here is an overview of relevant equipment and facilities.

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X-ray diffraction (XRD)

The XRD laboratory conducts qualitative and semi-quantitative analyses of samples in powdered or solid form to identify and quantify crystalline phases in minerals and inorganic materials.

When the sample is analysed using XRD, it will produce a pattern that functions as a sort of fingerprint. This can then be compared with a large database of the different patterns of known materials. The laboratory has different holders for different types and quantities of materials. The laboratory is mainly used by students and staff, although it is also used by external customers.

  • Bruker D8 Advance Eco diffractometer equipped with a Lynxeye detector (Cu-Kα radiation, 40 kV voltage, 25 mA current)
  • Flipstick sample holder for up to 9 samples in powder or solid form (normal holders, back-loading holders, low amount Si-crystal holders, filter holders ++)
  • XYZ table
  • Setup for capillary tubes
  • Diffrac.EVA license
  • Diffrac.TOPAS license
  • ICDD PDF-4+ license

Contactperson: Caroline Ruud

Core lab

The core lab contains equipment for preparing test plugs of different types of rock and triaxial cells to study the mechanical properties of these types of rock under different test conditions.

For example, in the case of triaxial cells, the confining pressure, capping pressure, pore pressure and temperature of an oil reservoir are simulated. This allows users to study the mechanical behaviour of different types of rock under real reservoir conditions. Since liquids or gas can also be injected through core plugs mounted in triaxial cells, users can perform tests linked to permeability, CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery/improved oil recovery (EOR/IOR). The laboratory is mainly used for research in bachelor's, master’s and doctoral degree programmes. The core lab also carries out commissions for external contractors. 

  • Core preparation: Core drill, lathe, cutting machines and grinding machine 
  • Mechanical rock testing: 11 triaxial cells and Brazilian cells All triaxial cells can measure radial and axial deformation and conduct tests at reservoir temperatures and with the continuous liquid flooding. 
  • Autosamplers for sampling liquid samples from flooding experiments.
  • Simple strength tests: Uniaxial strength (UCS test) and indirect tensile strength (Brazilian test)  
  • Triaxial testing: Deviatoric, isotropic and uniaxial stress tests. Analyses how flooding liquids and temperature affect mechanical properties. 
  • Permeability measurements 

Contactperson: Reidar Inge Korsnes

Thin sections and milling

The laboratory for preparing geological samples has equipment for preparing and conducting petrographic analysis of thin sections, as well as other preparation methods such as casting in epoxy (with or without colour) under vacuum, grinding and polishing, crushing/ milling samples, and particle size distribution analysis.

Good sample preparation is important for further analysis using optical microscopes and electron microscopes. The laboratory can prepare both covered and polished thin sections.

The laboratory is mainly used by students and staff. Some analyses are also carried out for other research departments and industry.

  • Astera VAC-12 Vacuum chamber
  • Astera GRN16 Grinding robot
  • Astera CUT8 Saw
  • Buehler Lapro Slab Saw
  • Mastersizer 3000 Particle size distribution
  • Lumic CL microscope with camera
  • Retsch RS200 Disc mill with agate grinding cup
  • Retsch SK300 Cross beater Mill
  • Struers DiskoPlan TS saw
  • Struers Accutom-50 saw
  • Struers Accutom-100 saw and grinding
  • Struers Rotopol-35 polishing machine
  • Struers Tegramin-30 grinding and polishing machine
  • Struer's CitoVac Vacuum chamber
  • Struers Labotom-5 cutting machine
  • Zeiss AxioLab Microscope with camera attached
  • Grinding plates and grinding wheels
  • Sieving machines
  • Preparation of thin sections.
  • Petrographic analysis.
  • Grain distribution/ particle size distribution analysis
  • Embedding of samples in epoxy
  • Grinding and polishing
  • Geological sample preparation

Contactperson: Caroline Ruud

Mineral separation

In the laboratory for mineral separation, the specific weight and magnetic properties of minerals are exploited to extract specific minerals from crushed rock samples. This is mainly done so minerals can be studied in detail and to decide the age of a rock using, for example, the uranium-lead method.

The laboratory at UiS uses two different types of heavy liquids as well as a Frantz magnetic separator to enable isolating desired minerals. It also has microscopes fitted with cameras so various samples or minerals can be studied in detail. The work is mainly carried out for students and staff. External commissions are also carried out for other research departments and for industry.

  • Frantz magnetic separator
  • Olympus SZX16 stereo microscope with camera
  • Centrifuge
  • Magnets
  • Mineral separation with heavy liquids
  • Mineral separation with magnetic separator
  • Embedding of minerals/grains
  • Mineralogy
  • Microscopy

Contactperson: Caroline Ruud

Enhanced / improved oil recovery (EOR / IOR)

The EOR/IOR laboratory contains equipment and set-ups used for experimental research into increased petroleum extraction. The activities help to increase the understanding of, for example, liquid flow in porous media. The laboratory is used for both research and teaching.

  • Amott imbibition cells for studying low and high (reservoir) temperatures.  
  • A heating cabinet with Hassler cells for flood experiments at reservoir pressures and reservoir temperatures.  
  • Autosamplers for sampling liquid samples from flooding experiments. 
  • SEM-EDS, XRD and geochemical measurements in mineralogical studies.  
  • IC and ICP for water analyses.  
  • Acid/base figures and asphalt measurements for oil analyses.
  • Microscopy

Contactperson: Skule Strand


The geotechnical laboratory conducts investigations related to identifying and classifying soils, as well as analyses of the mechanical properties of soils. The laboratory is used for both research and teaching.

Structural Geology

Sieve shaker analysis is used to determine grain size and quantities within given grain intervals. Segmentation testing is conducted using a hydrometer to study material grading for materials with a grain size of smaller than 0.063mm. Users can also prepare undisturbed clay samples and determine shear strength through uniaxial pressure testing or cone experiments. In the case of clay samples, liquid limits and plasticity limits can also be studied. The laboratory also has equipment for determining the density of clay, sand, aggregates extracted from asphalt and similar materials (finer than 4.0mm). 

  • Splitting apparatus
  • Crushing machine
  • HAVER ML sieve machine
  • Sieves with square holes
  • Equipment for sedimentation testing
  • Displacer for clay samples GEONOR
  • Zwick hydraulic press 2.5kN
  • Cone apparatus GEONOR
  • Casagrande apparatus
  • Vacuum desiccator and glass pycnometers
  • Heating cabinet (Memmert and Binder)
  • Heater (Binder)
  • Splitting of samples to obtain a representative test sample from a large quantity of samples
  • Sieve shaker analysis (wet sieving) both with sieving machines and by manual sieving
  • Sedimentation testing using a hydrometer
  • Preparation of undisturbed clay samples
  • Shear strength (uniaxial hydraulic press or cone apparatus)
  • Liquid limit and plasticity limit
  • Grain density

Contactperson: Guzman Cruz Rodriguez

Near-surface geophysics

The near-surface geophysics laboratory has a range of geophysical measurement equipment for both onshore and offshore applications. The available instruments and equipment can be used to measure subsurface responses with both seismic and electromagnetic waves. The laboratory offers autonomous platforms and has developed an autonomous catamaran that can be equipped with various instruments.

Liten båt på vann som samler inn geofysisk informasjon

For water, the laboratory has a high-frequency CHIRP sonar (10-20 kHz). This is used for both archaeological and geotechnical purposes and provides a good picture of shallow subsurface layers. There is also a low-frequency source (Boomer), with a frequency range of 700-2000 Hz. This is used for geotechnical purposes at sea and provides a good picture of deeper subsurface layers. A ground-penetrating radar (80 MHz) is used onshore for archaeological and geotechnical purposes. This provides a good picture of the subsurface using electromagnetic waves. The laboratory is also equipped with 24 wireless three-component geophones that use a 5kg sledgehammer as the seismic source.

  • High-frequency (10-20 kHz) bottom-penetrating sonar (Chirp).
  • Low frequency (700-2000 Hz) Boomer system with two streamers.
  • Malå GX80 HDR (center frequency 80 MHz) Georadar.
  • 24 pcs 10 Hz 3-component, wireless geophones. 5 kg sledgehammer with trigger that can be used as a seismic source.
  •  Minicat 420 catamaran boat equipped with two Minn kota Riptide electric motors. The boat is driven by remote control or autonomously.)
  • Measurements of stratigraphy, structure and elasticity of near-surface geology on land and in water.

Contactperson: Wiktor Waldemar Weibull

Geodesy / Lidar

The geodesy and Lidar laboratories support various laboratory and field activities across departments. Lidar can be used for 3D modelling based on laser technology.

Light detection and ranging

3D models can be used to interpret geology and perform highly accurate measurements. A series of models allows surface changes to be detected (for example, when mapping avalanche risk). Lidar is also an important tool for urban planning, as well as discovering and preserving cultural sites (for example, archaeological finds). 

  • Reigl VZ4000 LIDAR 
  • GNSS (CPOS) Total station 
  • Leveling scope 
  • Stretch tabs 
  • DIC (photogrammetry with digital image correlation) 
  • Accelerometer 
  • ADCP including pressure sensor 
  • Equipment for fall protection and access technology 
  • 3D modelling using laser technology 
  • Surface and change mapping 
  • Various geodetic methods  
  • Coordinate systems  
  • Transformations  
  • Variance propagation  
  • Variance and tolerance analysis  
  • Minimum square method (equalisation)  
  • Various survey methods (both onshore and offshore)  
  • Collocation: Fall protection and access technology  

Contactpersons: Sven Roemer and Lisa Jean Watson (LIDAR)

Data- and geomodelling  

The data- and geomodelling laboratory has advanced equipment for research, teaching and student-based activities within the field of subsurface interpretation.

Geologi-bilder, seismisk bilde, grafikk

The laboratory also enables subsurface conditions/porous media to be simulated and interpreted using both commercial and open source software. 

  • Workstations with the following software:
    • Petrel 
    • Eclipse 
    • Sendra 
    • Kappa 
    • MRST 
    • Interactive Petrophysics 
    • DecisionSpace 
    • Move 
    • OpendTect 
    • ArcGIS
  • Static and dynamic reservoir simulation 
  • Core analyses 
  • Interpretation of seismic and logs (including well logs)
  • Well testing 
  • Regional mapping 
  • Reservoir modelling 

Contactperson: Andreas Habel

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