Facilities and Computing


Green Center

The Cecil H. and Ida Green Graduate and Professional Center, commonly known on campus as the Green Center, has provided a home for the Department of Geophysics, its offices and labs, since 1971.  It is named for geophysicist Cecil Green, who was co-founder of Texas Instruments, and who, along with his wife, Ida, spent his life supporting educational endeavors.

One of the largest buildings on the Mines campus, the Green Center also houses two large lecture halls, Bunker Auditorium, and Friedhoff Hall, all of which offer suitable space for large and small campus activities, as well as events hosted by partners in the greater Denver Metro Area.


Core Lab

The Core Lab is dedicated to education and research in the integration of borehole and seismic geophysics, petroleum geology, and petroleum engineering, in both Mines curriculum and continuing education courses.  The collection was established in 1965 by Dr. Robert (Bob) Weimer, now retired from the faculty at Mines, and moved to its current location in the basement of the Green Center in 1972. The lab facilities were requested by Cecil Green at the time of his gift, which funded building construction, to have integrated geoscience and engineering labs for use by geophysics, geology, and geochemistry in research and teaching.

Over the years, the repository, with support from short courses conducted by Mines for companies such as Tenneco, has expanded with donations from Mines Alumni, friends of Mines, the USGS Core Facility in Lakewood, Colorado, and by companies whose employees benefited from those short courses.  Financial support for the Core Lab comes from short course fees, contributions from industry, and the Robert and Ruth Weimer Endowed Fund for Sedimentary Geology, established in 1985. Students have played an important role as hourly workers in curating and improving the core collection.

The lab is currently managed by Professor Steve Sonnenberg in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. Public access to the collection is possible on a space-available basis. Please contact the Department of Geophysics for assistance with scheduling.

Distributed Fiber Optic Sensing Laboratory

DFOS LabResearchers use this lab to apply fiber-optic sensing techniques to understand Earth’s subsurface and surface processes, as well as applications in Earth resources and civil infrastructure. The laboratory also researches new fiber-based sensing methods, and new theoretical and computational methods to appropriately and efficiently manage large-scale fiber-optic data.

Learn more about DFOS research and the DFOS Laboratory

Fluids and Ocean Waves Laboratory (FLOW)

The Fluids and Ocean Waves Laboratory (FLOW) focuses on education and research of ocean surface waves and geophysical fluid dynamics.

FLOW houses computing facilities as well as equipment for a variety of desktop experiments in fluid dynamics. Researchers at Mines Oceanography use computers to perform numerical experiments and data analysis that aim at better understanding the role of ocean waves and air-sea interactions in shaping the Earth’s climate. The wet lab counts with a series of teaching-grade rotating tanks and wave tanks that are used to illustrate and investigate the behavior or geophysical flows.

Geophysical Discovery Lab (GDL)

Krahenbuhl, Adam Mangel and students preparing to install GDL components, Fall 2017

The Geophysical Discovery Lab (GDL) is a massive, outdoor, underground geophysical laboratory for research and education, right in the heart of Mines campus, beneath Kafadar Commons.  During the 2017 construction of the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering, the Department of Geophysics was granted a one-time window of opportunity, between the completion of CoorsTek and the rebuild of Kafadar Commons, to construct this one-of-a-kind underground laboratory, complete with distributed sensors, boreholes, and numerous targets of varying physical properties, geometries, depths, and levels of overlap/interference.  The targets were ultimately selected to represent, as best as possible, sources related to civil infrastructure, archaeology, forensics, historical preservation, humanitarian geophysics, geology, and natural hazards.

The initial designs for the laboratory and subsequent discussions with the University began on June 1, 2016.  Exactly two years later, the laboratory reached completion with the placement of the final two items: a pair of boreholes, lined with specialized geophysical sensors, and straddling the underground tunnels at the east end of Kafadar.

Research Associate Professor Richard (Rich) Krahenbuhl, leading a team of seniors in the Geophysical Engineering undergraduate program, developed the lab’s initial framework.  Dr. Krahenbuhl, Geophysics Lab Coordinator Brian Passerella, and a large number of students, along with considerable assistance from the Mines Office of Capital Planning and Design, FCI Constructors, the US Geological Survey, the Army Corps of Engineers, Sandia National Labs, Pacific Northwest National Lab, and NecroSearch, installed the lab components during the summer and fall of 2017.

The lab now provides a target-rich environment for students both in and beyond the Department of Geophysics to develop their geophysics expertise and carry out experiments.  To request use of the GDL, visit Mines Online Events Reservations.

Hydrogeology and Geomechanics Laboratory

The Hydrogeology and Geomechanics Laboratory integrates data from laboratory and field experiments at various scales to inform process-based models of near-surface problems including coastal freshwater, contaminant plumes, geothermal systems, landslides, leakage in earth dams and embankments, and volcanic processes.  

Ken Larner GeoMaker Space

Students in GeoMaker Space

The Ken Larner GeoMaker Space is a novel geoscience teaching, research, and design laboratory that encourages Mines Geophysics students and other university community members to devise, prototype, and validate innovative technology solutions to address important, socially relevant 21st century challenges. The GeoMaker Space offers a wide variety of geoscience- and engineering-related components important, not only for departmental teaching and learning activities at the undergraduate and graduate level, but also for research and entrepreneurial efforts across the university.

The space includes:

  • Electronics and fabrication tool library
  • Microcomputer library
  • Low-cost geoscience sensor library
  • 3D and printed circuit board printers
  • Robots and drones for data acquisition
  • Scale geomodel test facilities 
  • Hardware for Photogrammetry, hyperspectral and LiDAR imagery creation
  • GPS, Bluetooth and cell network telemetry components

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