Petrophysics Laboratory


Electrical property instruments. Instrumentation used to make electrical property measurements in the Petrophysics Laboratory.

The Petrophysics Laboratory (PetLab) is part of the Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center located in building 20 on the Denver Federal Center. The laboratory is a multi-user facility that provides physical property data of earth materials for geophysical research. PetLab is equipped to make physical property measurements on rocks and sediment including:

  • Density
  • Magnetic Properties
  • Electrical properties
  • Radioactive Properties

Knowledge of a site's physical properties is an important asset in planning geophysical surveys; particularly in selection of an appropriate method and in selecting optimum survey parameters such as array size and frequency. Knowing the range of physical properties for a given area help refine geophysical interpretations and provide justification for constraining model input parameters. The integration of physical property data with mineralogical and geochemical data provides an important link between the rocks and ores to their observed geophysical signatures.

Physical property measurements can be made in the field, in boreholes, and in the laboratory. There are a number of benefits to determining physical properties in a laboratory setting, for example:

  • Multiple samples can be prepared and measured using exactly the same method.
  • Different measurements can be made on exactly the same sample.
  • Samples can be measured repeatedly to observe time-varying responses.
  • Ability to select and vary measurement parameters:
    • Frequency
    • Current density
    • Temperature
    • Hydration state
    • Saturating fluid
  • Measured samples can be submitted for other analyses, such as mineralogy and geochemistry, for correlation with geophysical properties.