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A Key for Identification of Rock-Forming Minerals in Thin Section


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1 Photographs and their captions
1.2 Crystal systems
1.2.1 Miller indices
1.3 Mineral properties in plane-polarised light (PPL)
1.3.1 Shape and form
1.3.2 Textural relationships
1.3.3 Mineral cleavage
1.3.4 Colour and Pleochroism
1.3.5 Relief
1.4 Mineral properties in cross-polarised light (XPL)
1.4.1 Birefringence and interference colours
1.4.2 Twinning
1.4.3 Zoning
1.4.4 Extinction angles
1.4.5 Length-fast and length-slow crystals
1.4.6 Interference figures

2. Key to rock-forming minerals in thin-section
2.1 To decide which Section
2.2 Symbols & abbreviations

Section 1: 2 (or 3) cleavage traces
Section 2: 1 Cleavage trace, inclined extinction
Section 3: 1 Cleavage trace, straight extinction, colourless
Section 4: 1 Cleavage trace, straight extinction, coloured
Section 5: Imperfect cleavage, parting or arranged fractures
Section 6: 0 Cleavage traces, colourless
Section 7: 0 Cleavage traces, coloured
Section 8: Opaque minerals

Appendix 1: Birefringence value ( ) and corresponding interference colours for a 30 m rock thin-section.
Appendix 2: Birefringence table of minerals in order of values.
Appendix 3: Glossary.
Appendix 4: Mineral abbreviations.

About the Author

Dr Andrew Barker has taught mineralogy and petrology at the University of Southampton for more than 30 years. He has research interests in metamorphic petrology, rock microstructures, fluid infiltration and mineralisation. As well as publishing research papers over three decades, he has also authored a textbook on metamorphic textures and microstructures, and has supervised PhD projects in Europe, Africa and Australia. His initial research concentrated on deformationmetamorphism inter-relationships during Caledonian and Hercynian orogenesis in Europe, but subsequently moved to look at mineralised Precambrian terrains in Africa. After a period of sabbatical leave to Australia in the late 1990s, his most recent research has concentrated on fl uid infiltration processes, reaction mechanisms and mineralisation.

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