Facilities

Physical Geography Teaching Laboratory

Our large physical geography laboratory provides a state-of-the-art teaching and research space for a diversity of the biogeographical and geomorphological analyses. Along with a range of equipment for water quality analysis, the lab includes a laser particle size analyser for determining particle size distributions of soils and sediments, as well as an extensive suite of microscopy equipment.

Microscopes

Student Study Centre

At the heart of Geography is our student study area, which is dedicated to our undergraduate students. This is a place for students to meet to discuss their work, check their email, access digital learning resources and use the Internet. The room has wireless networking available for students with laptops.

Study Area

Computing Facilities

Geography is exceptionally well-equipped with high specification computer facilities. Our large computer room (50 PCs) is used for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching as well as research. The computers have specialist software for the analysis of geographical data (GIS), the analysis of satellite data (remote sensing) and modelling and visualisation of environmental data.

Student Computers

3D Stereo Virtual Reality Theatre

Refurbished in 2010, Geography's Virtual Reality theatre uses 3D rendering to visualise geographical (GIS) data. Such data are relevant to both human and physical geographers. The VR theatre is part of our teaching programme. For example, it is used by physical geographers to famliarise students with the landscape of Almeria (Spain) prior to their fieldtrip. The development of VR projects is not just for staff; two former BSc students have received bursaries to develop VR projects and several 3rd year students have undertaken dissertation work using this facility. Examples include: visualising the vegetation and topography relationships in the Tabernas, Spain and modelling and the potential impact of future sea-level change in estuaries.

VR Students

The Geochronology Laboratory

Detailed analyses of long-term landscape evolution and palaeoclimatic change are predicated establishing reliable timescales (“geochronology”). In 2012 we established a new laboratory for this purpose, which focusses on the use of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating. This, and the allied technique of thermoluminescence (TL) dating, allows us to estimate the time elapsed since sediments were last exposed to sunlight (burial duration) or heated (e.g. fired in a kiln). Such chronological data is highly relevant to both landform/landscape evolution and archaeological research over timescales of decades to hundreds of thousands of years.

Luminescence Lab

The Environmental Stable Isotope Laboratory

Geography hosts a state-of-the-art research laboratory dedicated to environmental stable isotope research. This includes analysis of the stable isotope composition (notably 13C and 18O) of carbonates, sedimentary organic matter and water. An additional specialism is the isolation and analysis of individual organic compounds ("biomarkers") using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and compound-specific stable isotope techniques.

Research Lab 12

The Palaeoecology Laboratory

A key approach to understanding long-term ecological and environmental change is the analysis of micro-fossils such as pollen, diatoms and ostracods. Preserved in sedimentary deposits and peat bogs, changes in species composition and abundance through time allow us to interpret past (palaeo) environmental conditions. Their analysis requires careful extractions from sediments and rocks. These are performed in our specialised palaeoecological laboratory, which was fully refurbished in 2012.

Pollen Lab 8

The Geomorphological Hardware Modelling Laboratory

The Geomorphological Hardware Modelling Laboratory

This laboratory is an experimental facility that allows us to study sediment transport and sediment erosion by water under carefully controlled conditions. It consists of a rainfall simulator, which can simulate rainstorms of differing duration and intensity, and a flume system with instumentation to measure flow velocity and turbulence. The former is often used to study soil erosion on hillslopes while the latter facilitates the study of river channel processes and sediment entrainment mechanisms.

 

The SPLINT lab is fantastic, not every university can say that they have a 3D virtual reality theatre or they look around maps using a Wii remote.
Sandor, BSc Geography

Other Equipment

As a department we are well stocked with basic equipment such as recording devices (loggers), digital cameras, pH kits, flowmeters, surveying equipment, soil temperature and moisture probes etc. We also have a range of GPS equipment including a Differential GPS unit capable of providing centimetre location accuracy. We have a significant number of hand-held PDAs that allow users to  record measurements and view satellite data while in the field.

Virtual Tour of the Department

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Contact Details

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Bennett Building
University Road
University of Leicester
Leicester
LE1 7RH

T: 0116 252 3933
E:
geography@le.ac.uk

Maps and directions

Accessibility

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The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Bennett Building.