Rock

Mineralogy and microstructure - keys to the classification and interpretation of a rock's history

Petrography and petrology relies on the accurate identification and reporting of rock mineralogy and texture. Typical information of interest to Geoscientists includes: quantification of modal mineralogy (major, minor, trace), grain size estimations of key components, associations between minerals and grains, and various  microstructural features which might be present such as fractures, veins, and different types and styles of alteration and weathering.  

Classification of Common Rocks

Igneous - information can be quantified for: crystal shape; grain size; proportion of crystallline versus glass components; oscillatory, normal and reverse zoning in isomorphic minerals (feldpar, olivine, pyroxene, tourmaline etc); exsoution, intergrowth, and reaction textures. This information leads to improved interpretations of the cooling history, order of crystallization, and viscosity modelling of igneous rocks and their parental magmas.

Sedimentary - our automated mineralogy images are used to investigate depositional environment, as well as the diagenetic components, of all types of terrigenous, organic, bioclastic, and chemically precipitated sedimentary rocks. 

Metamorphic    - rocks formed under metamorphic conditions are typically the result of a complex sequence of events and processes  - normally involving extreme heat, pressure,  and various geo-fluids - all operating over extended periods of geological time. The new minerals, their textures and reactions can all be seen in automated mineralogy images,  leading to a better understanding of the history of the rock.    

Extra-terrestrial - recent studies have shown the power of automated mineralogy images to provide new insights into the complex textures and phase relations of meteorites, lunar material, and other extra-terrestrial samples.

Challenges in Rock Geoscience

Quantification of a rock's mineralogy and texture is a challenging exercise simply because of the range of possible minerals and microstructures which occur in nature. Statistical representivity and accuracy, as well as speed of digital data acquisition and interpretation, are important features for scientists and engineers interested in petrography. Traditional optical mineralogy and manual SEM investigations rely heavily on operator skill and diligence, with sample throughput often constrained by man hours available.

FEI Solutions for Rock Geoscience

Our automated mineralogy solutions provide images containing a wealth of information about the texture and mineral composition of rock. Our images are used by petrologists to augment conventional optical petrographic observations, as well as provide guides for further investigations of specific areas of a sample (such as with FIB-SEM, EPMA, and LA-ICP-MS, for example). Automated data collection and sample holders that can accommodate multiple thin section and polished blocks enables highly efficient mineral analysis, with up to several hundred points per second processed, and resultant images containing typically millions of pixels.

Documents

Automated Mineralogy and Petrography Brochure

Automated Mineralogy & Petrography is a technology solution that images rocks. It provides valuable information on which minerals are present in a sample (mineralogy) and how they occur spatially (microtexture). Measurements are performed ultrafast and unattended (automated) to allow high sample throughput.

Download document

Products for Rock

QEMSCAN 650 SEM for Minerals & Mining
A laboratory-based, automated petrography analyzer, initially developed for the mining industry, the FEI QEMSCAN 650 SEM serves mineralogy petrology and metallurgy use cases in a wide range of natural resources industries, including mining, oil and gas, and geoscience institutes.
QEMSCAN 650F SEM for Minerals & Mining
A laboratory-based, automated petrography analyzer, initially developed for the mining industry, the FEI QEMSCAN 650F SEM serves mineralogy petrology and metallurgy use cases in a wide range of natural resources industries, including mining, oil and gas, and geoscience institutes.
MLA 650 SEM for Minerals & Mining
A laboratory-based, automated petrography analyzer, the FEI MLA 650 scanning electron microscope (SEM) was initially developed for the mining industry. It serves mineralogy, petrology and metallurgy use cases in a range of natural resources industries, including mining and geoscience institutes.

MLA 650F SEM for Minerals & MInining
A high-speed automated mineralogy analyzer widely used in the mining industry to optimize the performance of mineral processing operations, the FEI MLA 650F scanning electron microscope (SEM) reduces sample analysis turnaround time from days to hours, when compared to traditional automated mineralogy analyzers. This allows operators to increase metal recovery by responding faster and more frequently to changes in feed and waste stream mineralogy.

Need more information?

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required

* 
* 
*
* 
* 
 



submitting your request...