Friday, 9 September 2011

Mapping the world ... one micron at a time

Watch out for the August issue of Elements, the International Magazine of Mineralogy, Geochemistry, and Petrology. On page 228 you will find the first in a series of thematic advertisements of FEI's SEM-based Petrographic Analyzers. Elements publishes peer-reviewed papers which are part of a theme based collection. This issue is on "When the Continental Crust Melts", and FEI Natural Resources contributed with an amazing QEMSCAN® image of a garnet schist from Brittany, France.

The compositional map of the schist shows spectacular regional metamorphic textures. Schistocity is the term referring to a mode of foliation typical for medium-grade metamorphic rocks, where platy minerals such as micas and clays (in shades of green) are parallel aligned. Quartz (pink) occurs in form of elongated, drawn-out grains. The garnet group crystals (purple) are hexagonal in cross-section and really stand out in this piece of art. Garnets are important minerals in establishing the temperature-time histories of metamorphic rocks.

We would like to take this opportunity and thank Michael Garrick for providing the sample, a beach pebble he picked up as an undergraduate geology student. We used this sample to develop QEMSCAN® mineral identification protocols based on the latest generation of the Spectral Analysis Engine in iDiscover version 5.x.

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