How to use Virtual Lab

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Using Virtual Lab

Double click the ‘ApplicationLauncher’ icon in the Virtual Lab folder. When the application opens, you will see four specimens. Click on the specimen you wish to view. You can focus and move around as you increase the magnification. Explore the other tools on the right hand side of the window. Then unload the image and load the next one.

The pond scum specimen is an organism similar to the cyanobacteria which formed stromatolites.

The coloured ‘Stromatolite’ specimen is a sample from the Dresser Formation in the Pilbara, and about 3.5 billion years old. The white bit in the middle is an intrusion and of no real interest. It is the layers that are of more interest.

The greyscale ‘Stromatolite’ is a Scanning Electron Microscope image of part of the stromatolite you have just seen.

The ‘Stromatolite EDS’ specimen is actually an X-ray Electron Dispersion Spectrometer image, which means it reveals the main elements and their distribution in the sample. Use the opacity button to bring down the colourisation so you can see the sample. Increase the magnification and move around and focus as with the macro image of the stromatolite. Bring up the opacity to get the colourisation. Pick the tool with a 0 in the middle and four straight lines emerging from it. Pick an area of interest and click. It will give you a graph. You can do this as many times as you like, arrange all the graphs together and enlarge and reduce each graph as you wish.

The Virtual Lab website is at




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