University of Alberta - Ice Core Lab + Ashbolt Lab

Client University of Alberta | Location Edmonton, AB | Completion 2016


We worked with the University of Alberta on converting existing classroom space into a specialized Ice Core storage and research Lab. This lab serves as the national archive of cryospheric materials for the Ice Core and Permafrost Archive of Canada (ICEPAC).

The facility contains a -36 °C cold room for storage of the ice cores along with a -24°C Class 100 working lab. The lab's contain hoods for sample preparation, a dirty preparation space where cores are cut and melted under a controlled environment, and a sterilization area. In addition to the cold space, there's a standard room temperature lab for analysis of samples prepared on the cold side.

This project presents a number of challenges including adding the weight of the ice cores themselves, the critical level of cleanliness of the Class 100 space, along with the refrigeration component. Rigorous controls to prevent sample contamination is critical to the success of this lab, and makes it a globally unique facility for sampling archived glacier ice cores for studies of past climates, contaminant deposition, microbiology, genomics, and biogeochemical cycling.


*Picture above courtesy of Metro News