EarthChem Overview

EarthChem operates a suite of data systems that assist Geoscientists with accessing, sharing, and using geochemical, petrological, and geochronological data. EarthChem systems ensure open and persistent access to quality controlled data and provide advanced capabilities for data mining and data analysis. EarthChem was established in 2005 and has been a part of the NSF-funded IEDA Data Facility since 2010. EarthChem systems serve different, complementary purposes in the data life cycle:

Data Publication & Preservation

  • The EarthChem Library is a open-access repository for geochemical datasets (analytical data, experimental data, synthesis databases) and other digital resources relevant to the field of geochemistry. The ECL offers a complete suite of services for data preservation and access, including long-term archiving and registration of data with Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs).
  • Geochron is an application for managing data from geochronological and thermochronological studies. Investigators should first submit geochronological data to Geochron and then can seamlessly publish their data in the EarthChem Library with the click of a button.

Data Mining & Analysis

  • EarthChem Portal is the one-stop-shop for geochemical data that gives users the ability to search federated databases including PetDB, SedDB, NAVDAT, MetPetDB, the USGS National Geochemical Database, GEOROC, and GANSEKI simultaneously. The EarthChem Portal has a rich set of search, visualization, and output formatting options, and is interoperable with the LEPR database and the MELTS software.
  • PetDB is a searchable database of geochemical data from sub-oceanic igneous and metamorphic rocks generated at mid-ocean ridges including back-arc basins, young seamounts, and old oceanic crust, as well as data for mantle xenoliths and an increasing range of terrestrial volcanic rocks. Data are compiled primarily from the published literature.
  • SedDB is a searchable database of marine and terrestrial sediment geochemical data compiled primarily from the published literature. Content of SedDB has been static since 2013.

Sample Identification & Metadata Preservation

  • SESAR, the System for Earth Sample Registration, is a sample metadata registry for cataloging and preserving sample metadata. SESAR provides a variety of human and machine-to-machine interfaces and software tools to register sample metadata, obtain unique identifiers (International Geo Sample Numbers; IGSNs) for samples, and to search the sample metadata catalog.

Quality Metadata


EarthChem data managers ensure that data contributed by investigators or extracted from the published literature is properly documented with respect to analytical data quality (method, precision, standard measurements), sample description (rock type, texture, age, modal composition, alteration), sample provenance (geospatial coordinates, location names, tectonic setting), sampling process (technique, date, cruise), and more. These data curation procedures ensure that our systems remain trusted resources for both research and education.