Imaging and Analysis of Microcrystals

Imaging and Analysis of Microcrystals

The vast majority of our work involves the preparation of 30 mm polished blocks for quantitative analysis. However the Zeiss Mineralogic system is also perfectly geared towards the analysis of unpolished micromounts. This can be very useful when the sample mass is very low and preparation in epoxy resin would lead to the likely loss of the overall sample. Equally, it can be very useful on occasion, and particularly with small samples, to preserve any crystal habits as useful indicators of mineral speciation. Some recent examples of micromount analyses are shown below.

Bright euhedral cerussite sitting within dark grey minrecordite crystals. From the Tsumeb mine, Namibia. Sample courtesy of Rob Bowell.

Acicular schultenite (Pb-arsenate) rosettes. From the Tsumeb mine, Namibia. This is the type locality for the mineral and it is commonly associated with bayldonite and anglesite here. Sample courtesy of Rob Bowell.

Interlocking chabazite crystals from basalt amygdules. These are taken from quarry material, from the Antrim basalt, Northern Ireland.

Euhedral fluorapatite crystals from the western edge of Namibia, not far from Henties Baai. In hand specimen these had a light blue colour and can be easily mistaken for Beryl. The name ‘apatite’ in fact derives from the Greek ‘to deceive’ due to the ease with which it could be confused for other minerals.

Euhedral edge of a shattered cassiterite crystal. Partially intergrown with saccharoidal feldspars these cassiterite crystrals were collected from Namibia.

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