A high-tech geological instrument worth $70,000 has been donated to Irvine Valley College, making it one of the few community colleges in the state to have such a sophisticated machine.
The powder X-ray defractor, which identifies minerals by analyzing their internal atomic structures, was given to the college by Vetter Research of Costa Mesa. College officials learned that the instrument was available from an Irvine Valley College student who also works at the company, said Glenn Roquemore, a geology professor.
The defractor stands six feet tall and includes a computer. It produces a strong X-ray beam, which hits the mineral at several different angles, Roquemore said.
He said it is rare for a community college to have a defraction instrument. Even some four-year institutions lack such a machine, Roquemore said.
"It will expose students to methods . . . taught only at the upper-division college level," he said. "It's an opportunity to prepare our students for the working world."