The projects of the GSC-Quebec and INRS - Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre research teams are supported by first-class laboratories to which the entire regional geoscientific community has also access.

For more infomation : INRS - Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre Facilities

Analytical Geochemistry Joint GSC-INRS Laboratory

The rock, sediment and tree characterization laboratory has multidisciplinary equipment and offers analytical services to GSC and INRS research teams. The laboratory has seven components:

  1. rock and sediment sample preparation
  2. mineral and organic petrography
  3. geochemical analysis
  4. sedimentological analysis
  5. paleontology and palynology
  6. dendrochronology 
  7. sample preservation

For more information, contact Stéfane Prémont (INRS) or Yves Michaud (GSC)

Dendrochronology and Dendrogeochemistry Laboratory - GSC

This laboratory has the expertise and equipment required for sampling trees, preparing samples (cutting and sanding workshop), dating and analyzing the physical and anatomical parameters of tree rings, and also carrying out the statistical and graphical treatment of data. Ring width measurement is performed using a Velmex micrometer (precision 0.001 mm) coupled to a digital encoder unit or using a digital image analysis system (LignovisionTM ) enabling automatic detection of ring boundaries and width measurement at a resolution of 0.001 mm. Leica MZ6 binocular magnifiers (40X) and a double educational magnifier facilitate wood observation and allow precise dating of tree ring sequences. The laboratory also has the expertise and instruments needed for the preparation of wood samples (ring separation) for geochemical and isotopic analysis; in particular, it has different types of high precision microtomes, including an electronic rotary microtone (Microm Thermo Scientific HM 340 E). Physical (width and density) and geochemical (nutrients, trace metals, and isotopes) characteristics of tree rings are used to reconstruct past climatic conditions, study dynamics of Earth processes, document the temporal evolution of anthropogenic contaminants, discriminate their sources, and study their impacts on the environment.

For more information, contact Christian Bégin

Digital Cartography and Photogrammetry Laboratory (LCNP) - GSC

The LCNP, equipped with specialised hardware and software, offers users expertise and services in the domain of geoscience data acquisition, management, analysis and dissemination.  The lab’s infrastructure comprises digital photogrammetric systems, large scale printers and scanners.  It also provides hardware, mobile devices, software and network support for teams in remote mapping camps.  The LCNP has developed a unique expertise in the field of data management and applications of international standards from ISO and OGC, and developed metadata management applications to support its operations and other program needs.  The lab is also an active participant in the development of geoscience standards.

For more information, contact Kathleen Lauzière

Drilling and Sounding Rig for Aquifer Characterization - INRS

The main equipment used to characterize the physical and geochemical properties of aquifers is a Geotech 605 drilling and sounding rig. Data collected with this equipment enable researchers to model flows and contaminant transport within aquifers. Researchers are also able to evaluate aquifer sensitivity to contamination and determine the most appropriate protection and exploitation strategies for sustainable management of the groundwater resource. This crawler-mounted rig has a real-time recording system for the mechanical and electrical responses of soils. It can be used to install observation wells for soil or groundwater sampling. Two types of drill heads are available: one of them can be used to make soundings by cone penetration (CPT) in loose sediments, and the other is equipped with a pneumatic drill to make soundings by rotary percussion up to 50 m deep in rocks and in sediments depending on conditions.

For more information, contact René Lefebvre

High-Resolution Paleoclimatic Analysis Laboratory (GIRAS) - INRS

The core equipement of this laboratory is the ITRAX Core Scanner, a non-destructive tool for chemical analysis by XRF (X-ray fluorescence) scanning and micro-radiography analysis of rock, soil and sediment. It enables the simultaneous acquisition of very high resolution (100 µm) data on chemical composition of solid samples using non destructive XRF analysis of most elements from aluminum to uranium. Rocks, drill cuttings and other fine materials, and split sediment cores and U-channels of up to 1.8 m in length can be analysed. A radiography and a high-resolution photography of the sample are included in the analysis. A Zeiss EVO® 50 SEM (scanning electron microscope) is also available to obtain images of the surface of most solid materials, with magnifications from 100X to 60 000X.

For more information, see website

Hydrogeology and Environmental Characterization Laboratory - GSC

The main laboratory services relate to field equipment and numerical modelling. The equipment available for data acquisition in the field includes that needed for characterization of groundwater flow. Some of the services are the designing and installation of wells, boreholes and piezometers, evaluation and control of aquifers (pumping, in-situ percolation (slug test), constant-head injection, etc.), discharge measurements, groundwater flow measurements, groundwater quality monitoring and sampling, contaminant source and plume delineations, surveys and instrumentation, and surface and borehole geophysics. The available equipment for numerical modelling includes two work stations, as well as the following software: Feflow, Sutra, Modflow, Aqtesolv, SEEP/W, Surfer/Grapher, Tecplot, MapInfo, GS+, Sigma Plot and Fed. Development of three-dimensional mathematical models takes into account saturated flow conditions in a permanent or transitional regime.

For more information, contact Yves Michaud

Laboratory for in situ Decontamination of Soils and Groundwater - INRS/DRDC

This laboratory was established in partnership with the Valcartier Research Centre (DRDC, Defence Canada) and the laboratory is located in one of their buildings. Tests are done in stainless steel vats that can hold 4 to 9 m3 of soil. Researchers can reproduce a whole range of soil conditions, as well as different types of contamination by pollutants resistant to standard cleaning methods. They also work on explosive products from unexploded ordnance.

For more information, contact Richard Martel

Multidisciplinary CT Scanning Laboratory - INRS

The Centre’s computed tomography (CT) facility consists of a Siemens SOMATOM Definition AS+ 128 CT scanner, a data storage and treatment unit, a sedimentology laboratory, and equipment for hydraulic, biosedimentology, and hydrology experiments. This world-class infrastructure is unique in Canada. Modified from medical equipment, the scanner enables the 4D study of solid structures and liquid flows using a volume created from a series of simultaneous images with submillimetre resolution. The equipment is configured to accommodate a wide range of applications. The scanner is sensitive to density variations of 0.1%. It has a 78-cm-diameter opening and a source/sensor configuration enabling 360° measurements around the analysed body. Finally, it is installed on 4.3-m-long rails, enabling the analysis of long objects such as tree trunks and sediment cores.

For more information, see website

Physical, Numerical and Geophysical Simulation Laboratory - INRS

Structural and tectonic interpretation of field and geophysical data and simulation of geological processes are performed in this laboratory to assist mineral and oil prospecting. The main equipment includes: High-speed centrifuge (1000 g) which enables the scaling of deformation models (made of plasticine and silicone mastic) to simulate the ductile deformation of rocks and diapirism; Sandboxes used to perform deformations (controlling for speed and constraints) to simulate brittle and brittle–ductile deformation of rocks, effects of basement structure and lithological heterogeneities; PIV imagery used for finite deformation calculations; Specialized software for geophysical data processing, geotechnical 2D analysis, and 3D reconstruction.

For more information, contact Lyal Harris

Stable Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory (Delta-Lab) - GSC

The Delta-Lab is a research facility mainly specializing in R&D of environmental preparation and analytical protocols, and that carries out δ2H, δ13C, δ15N and δ18O analyses of inorganic and organic matrices. Over the years the laboratory has developed several preparation protocols for the treatment of air, water, plant tissues, organic matter, hydrocarbons, and minerals. Matrices are characterized using several state-of-the-art continuous flow systems: pre-concentrator-gold-furnace system, pyrolysis-elemental analyzer, two combustion-elemental analyzers, GC-pyrolysis system, gas chromatograph (GC) combining combustion and pyrolysis modules, and a gas-water or acid-carbonate equilibrium system. These peripherals are attached to four isotope ratio mass spectrometers (IRMS): MAT 253 (with 6 collectors and an adapted conflow), Delta Plus XL (with H head and dual inlet), Delta V Plus (with H head) and Prism-III (with H head, dual inlet and manifold). Other equipment available includes several gas preparation lines, a preparative capillary GC equipped with a flame ionization detector (FID), and a GC-MS with a FID. With this equipment, the Delta-Lab can cover the whole range of stable isotope indicators applicable to studies in hydrogeology, environmental research, diagenesis, and sedimentology, by analyzing isotopes from water, dissolved components, organic matrices, and reactive host rocks.

For more information, please contact Jason Ahad

Joint Library INRS-Natural Resources Canada

Within the QGC, the Natural Resources Canada Library and the Information and Documention Service of the INRS share expertise, tools, and resource materials.

The Natural Resources Canada Library posseses a large collection of books, reports, scientific journals, maps and other geoscience documents. This collection focuses on regional geology, mineralogy, structural geology, plate tectonics, stratigraphy, petrology, hydrogeology, Quaternary geology, and geomorphology.

The Information and Documention Service of the INRS manages for the Eau Terre Environnement Research Centre a collection on water and environmental sciences mostly focused on hydrogeology, hydrology, ecotoxicology, aquatic biogeochemistry and contamination, climate change, and waste decontamination and reclamation.