Facility Overview

The Continental Scientific Drilling (CSD) Facility is part of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. Funding for the CSD Facility is provided by the National Science Foundation, Division of Earth Sciences, Instrumentation and Facilities Program.

The CSD Facility provides leadership and services for the communities of scientists requiring drilling, coring, and subsurface surveys and monitoring on Earth’s continents, on land and in lakes.


The CSD Facility is a nexus for organizing and advancing community priorities.

We coordinate the development of community science and project plans as a roadmap for funding agencies in the coming decades, and we advance our infrastructure and software developments accordingly. Facility personnel conduct outreach activities, work to broaden participation of underrepresented groups, and develop educational materials and best practices, and offer consultation and collaboration to help you develop and execute outreach, diversity, and education activities for your project's broader impacts. 

Planning and Development

We can help translate your scientific goals into optimized project plans and budgets.

We can advise about the best field and lab techniques for your specific project requirements. As appropriate for the scope, we offer our services and solicit and align bids from other academic facilities and commercial contractors with the needed capabilities. We prepare integrated budgets and related documentation for project proposals and can advise regarding funding strategies and sponsor priorities. We routinely work with the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) in project design and implementation.

Field Operations

The CSD Facility offers field operations services tailored to the needs of your project.

  • We manage specialized field instruments, equipment, and materials and coordinate rental and sales in support of project activities. 
  • We prepare operational plans, including contracts, MOUs, shipments, permit applications, logistics, site-specific plans for health, safety, environment, and operations protocols. 
  • When field operations begin, our experienced staff can travel to field sites to supervise activities, represent the project team and serve as liaison between contractors and scientists to ensure project requirements are met, train scientists and contractors in the use of specialized equipment and techniques, track on-site activities, consumption of supplies, manage data collection, operations budgets, and support project logistics. 


The CSD Facility instruments and software generate fundamental data and allow you to see the results.

  • Our field instrumentation offers capabilities to analyze subsurface structure, fluids, gas, and formation characteristics. 
  • The Facility Core Lab offers a full suite of equipment, instrumentation, expertise, and training for visitors conducting initial core scanning, processing, splitting/slabbing, description, interpretation, and subsampling. 
  • The Facility Analytical Lab offers services to process and analyze core subsamples. 
  • We develop and maintain software, tools, and data systems to support integrated data management and visualization at all project phases.


The CSD Facility archives and manages scientific collections to accelerate reuse for new research.

  • Our Core Repository holds samples from more than 8,000 sites worldwide, in refrigerated, frozen, and ambient indoor temperature environments suitable for all types of core samples.
  • Our Data Archive holds sample metadata, data and scans generated at the facility, and publications produced by the projects we support.
  • Our Reference Collections include petrographic smear slides and paleoecology specimens.
  • We develop and maintain Standard Operating Procedures and documentation templates from community best practices.
  • We can connect you with additional cores, samples, and data stored at other institutions.