Trace Chemistry/Ice Core Laboratory

Lab Description

DRI’s Trace Chemistry Laboratory was established in 1967 specifically to provide support for monitoring and assessing the impacts of the cloud seeding activities occurring in the State of Nevada. At that time, new and innovative trace chemical techniques were just beginning to be applied to such investigations around the world.

Today, DRI’s Trace Chemistry Laboratory is an EPA-certified trace metals lab and includes two state-of-the-art Thermo Finnigan Element2 High Resolution-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (HR-ICP-MS) instruments complete with an autosampler for automated sample introduction. ICP-MS is a well-accepted technique for trace element concentration analysis. The instruments can operate in Low (LR), Medium (MR) and High (HR) resolution modes as needed for elimination of interferences and precise measurements. The instruments are optimized for long-term stability, excellent sensitivity, and high signal-to-noise ratio. The two HR-ICP-MS and an Elga 18.2 mega ohm ultra-pure water system are housed in a 300 sq. ft. class 100 clean room. The trace chemistry laboratory also includes a 200 sq. ft. cold lab (-15°C), a 400 sq. ft. wet chemistry lab and a 150 sq. ft. sample storage freezer (-20°C). DRI’s trace chemistry laboratory is dedicated to increasing the analytical capacity of water quality labs in developing countries through assessment of protocols and inter-laboratory comparisons.

Additional instruments include gas and ion chromatographs, atomic-adsorption, fluorescence, and ultraviolet and visible spectrophotometers, Ocean Optics multichannel fiber optic spectrophotometer with Liquid Core Wave Guide flow cells, an Ocean Optics pH sensor, a sub-boiling Teflon acid still, a flow injection analysis system, an acid reflux bottle cleaning system, a laser-light scattering instrument for continuous particle counting, and high accuracy peristaltic and pulse-free piston pumps. Black carbon analyses are performed using an SP2, inter-cavity laser system.

Joe McConnell, Ph.D.
Research Professor, Division of Hydrologic Sciences
PHONE: 775-673-7348

Monica Arienzo, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor, Division of Hydrologic Sciences
PHONE: 775-673-7693

Nathan Chellman, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Hydrologic Sciences


Joe McConnell, Ph.D.
Lab Director 


Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512


Hydrologic Sciences