Palaeontology and Sedimentology Laboratory


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The Palaeontology and Sedimentology Laboratory (PalSed lab) supports Geoscience Australia's projects by providing a broad range of specialist preparatory, analytical, and technical services to Geoscience Australia's scientific staff.

We offer a range of services in the areas of palaeontology, sedimentology, and organic/mineral geochemistry. Our range of analyses is suitable for a variety of marine, estuarine, freshwater, and regolith samples. 


Sieve grainsize: Samples are wet sieved into specific fractions to establish particle size distribution. 

Laser grainsize: Conducted with the laser particle size analyser. Laser diffraction is used to calculate the volume weighted percentage of particles in the sample. This is a highly precise method suitable for particles in the range of 0.02-2000um.

CaCO3%: Determined using the carbonate digestion method. CaCO3% percentage for coarse fractions is estimated through visual inspection. 

Multi Sensor Core Logging (MSCL): A non-destructive analytical process measuring density (through gamma attenuation), magnetic susceptibility, and P-wave velocity properties of core samples.

Core splitting/sampling: Core splitting and high resolution imaging using Geotek software. We have sampling kits available for use.  


Palynology: Samples are digested in acid, oxidised, and separated by heavy liquid to concentrate remnants of fossilised organic remains such as pollen and spores. They are then presented for viewing in a slide for further investigation.

Diatom: Useful environmental indicators. Samples are digested and presented on a slide for diatom investigation.

Foraminifera: Involves the preparation of specific, clean fractions for foraminifera identification and picking. Foraminifera are useful for a variety of isotopic dating methods and environmental studies.

Imaging: We have a high resolution Olympus DP70 digital microscope camera capable of taking images to X 45 magnification.  We can prepare images for publication using professional image editing software.

Conodont element recovery: Conodont elements are separated from sedimentary rock samples.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) preparation: Preparation of microscopic samples for imaging using the SEM.


  • Sample preparation for geochemical analysis eg. X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD). We have an array of sieving and milling/grinding equipment.
  • Kerogen isolation: The organic component of samples is isolated for subsequent organic geochemistry analysis.
  • Use of equipment/facilities requests available for client use (see equipment/ facilities list).


The PalSed lab has a range of modern equipment and facilities including:

  • Multi sensor core logger
  • Surface area analyser
  • Laser particle size analyser
  • Core splitter
  • Freeze dryer
  • Micro grinders
  • Magnetic separator
  • Analytical balance
  • Precision saw
  • Centrifuges
  • Ultra sonic baths
  • Microscopes
  • Sieve shakers
  • High resolution cameras
  • Fume cupboards
  • Ovens.

Topic contact: Last updated: November 18, 2010