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Research Centers and Labs

There are several educational, research, and public service facilities housed within the Department that provide fascinating opportunities for a combination of theoretical and practical work

CHAOS (College Heights Atmospheric Observatory for Students)

The CHAOS (College Heights Atmospheric Observatory for Students) Lab is a state-of-the art applied learning and research facility for students that implements hands-on weather monitoring and prediction. 

The Center for Human Geo-Environmental Studies (CHNGES) is a consortium of scientists and students dedicated to research and higher education at the frontiers of environmental science. Its primary mission is to be a leader in the development of innovative, basic and applied research programs aimed at understanding the dynamics of human-landscape-atmosphere interactions. A major goal of the Institute's activities is to actively involve undergraduate and graduate students in all aspects of this research as an integrated part of their academic programs with the purpose of nurturing their intellectual growth, critical thinking skills, and technical experience in the environmental discipline. 

The Crawford Hydrology Laboratory (CHL)  offers environmental consulting, field support, and laboratory services, cave and karst geologic and environmental studies. The lab conducts groundwater investigations with dye tracing and various analytical methods. 

The Disaster Science Operations Center (DSOC)  is a student-centered operation that provides all-hazards monitoring and decision support to WKU campus and regional community.

The Department's Geological Sciences also has equipped with several analytical and petrographic equipments for training and education of undergraduate and gradute students to analyze earth's materials (sediments, soils, rock and mineral samples) for various geoscientific investigations.

 The Kentucky Climate Center is staffed by the State Climatologist and maintains an extensive set of Kentucky climatic data, as well as the Kentucky Mesonet project. The Kentucky Mesonet is a network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations being developed by the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University to serve diverse needs in communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Landscape Geodynamics (LeGo) Lab promotes educational, technical and practical research, and teaching activities for Department of Earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences graduate and undergraduate students and internal and external collaborators. Research and Technology Program. This Lab Team investigates landscape development and evolution through geologic time from the complex interplay among tectonics, erosion, surface processes, climate and environmental impacts, to address grand challenges of earth-systems feedback problem. The Team also focuses on geologic and geomorphic mapping, geomorphological changes, earthquake, landslide and anthropogenic hazards in karstic and fluvial landforms. The various research tools this Team uses include low-temperature thermochronology, geochronology , numerical modeling and codes, environmental geomorphology, field and lab-based structural modeling, thin section petrography, electron microscopy, and GIS and remote sensing. 

The Stratigraphy Maximum (STRATAMax) Lab Group focuses on  source-to-sink; facies analysis and depositional environments; sequence and seismic stratigraphy; paleoclimatology; reservoir analogs in outcrops; integration of well logs, 2D/3D seismic, and cores; basin analysis; tectonic sedimentology; ichnology; and diagenesis. Sedimentary layers filling up a basin are commonly so dynamic that their robust understanding requires novel integration of various types of data in 4D. To tackle this challenge, we developed StrataMax lab, a cutting-edge PC-based workstation lab with 3D visualization capability, to investigate subsurface and outcrop geology in a maximum way.

The Department also has several computer labs with numerous GIS applications, geological software, statistical packages, database programs, and Internet connections. The Department's state-of-the-art Geographic Information Science (GIS) Center contains advanced microcomputers, ArcGIS software, and other computer-mapping software.


The Applied Materials Institute (AMI) and Ogden College of Science & Engineering coordinates and promotes educational, research and public service activities for various groups in WKU’s Department of earth, Environmental, and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Chemistry, other Ogden College of Science and Engineering Departments, and the Applied Research and Technology Program. The AMI is also active conducting third-party testing of materials for regional and national businesses.

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 Last Modified 12/20/22