Geology majors have access to student office space, and well-equipped computer and research laboratories for class work, summer and independent study research projects. Department facilities include laboratories for geographic information systems (GIS), scanning electron microscopy, petrographic microscopy, rock sawing, water quality analyses and sediment core processing. The department operates several research boats, which include acoustic doppler current profilers (ADCP), reflection seismograph, and CHIRP and side-scan sonar. Bowdoin's 118 acre Coastal Studies Center provides further resources for study and research, and the geology department maintains an oceanographic buoy off its shore.
The department also houses extensive mineral, rock, fossil and map collections, including specimens collected in the early 1800s by James Bowdoin III and Bowdoin professor Parker Cleaveland. The James Bowdoin III collection includes purchases of clay crystal models from Rene Hauy "Father of Crystallography" and European specimens from William Maclure "Father of American Geology." Professor Cleaveland is known as the "Father of American Mineralogy;" his 1816 "Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and Geology" was the first book published on American geology and a copy is preserved in Bowdoin's special collections. Former Bowdoin professor Benjamin Burbank called Bowdoin's collection "one of the most historically important collections in America."
Burbank, B.B., 1988. James Bowdoin and Parker Cleaveland. The Mineralogical Record, v. 19, p. 145-152.