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Quantitative Mineralogy and Microanalysis of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Quantitative Mineralogy and Microanalysis of Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Topics in Mineral Sciences Volume 42

Editor: P. Sylvester

The purpose of this course volume is to introduce geologists to modern technologies and techniques for studying the petrography, mineralogy and mineral chemistry of sediments and sedimentary rocks. The approaches provide new insights into paleo depositional environments and drainage systems, diagenetic histories and basin architecture. Minerals are important in this context because they preserve an archive of geological processes or surficial conditions that are often homogenized or disturbed at the scale of bulk samples.

Softcover. 299 pages. 2012. 

MAC Member Price: $40 CAD/USD

Publication Price $50.00 CAD/USD
ID: SC-42
ISBN: 978-0-921294-52-8


Interest in the study of sediments had undergone a renaissance in recent years. Sediments are the primary archive of the recent record of surficial processes on Earth and thus can provide important information on many timely problems facing society including climate change and environmental contamination. At the same time, as most of the large undiscovered mineral deposits may be buried beneath cover rocks, sediments have increasingly assumed prominence in providing clues to what lies beneath. The geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of tills, and stream and lake sediments can be used to trace back to hidden resources, armed with a knowledge of the processes that transported and deposited them. Some heavy mineral sands are themselves important sources of metals.

Sedimentary rocks continue to be a major focus in geology, not only as the archive of surficial processes and conditions of the past but also as hosts for oil and gas resources and many classes of mineral deposits (sedimentary exhalative deposits, iron formations, unconformity-type and roll-front uranium deposits, etc.) Understanding the relationship between mineralogy and the porosity and permeability of sandstone reservoirs is a longstanding research theme of petroleum geology. More recently, imaging and microanalysis of mudrocks have become of significant interest. This relates to the growing commercial production of shale gas in the US over the past decade and the potential for similar resources elsewhere in the world. Advanced techniques for imaging and analysis at the microscopic scale are particularly appropriate for study of the fine-grained mineralogy and textures of mudrocks.

This short course does not cover all the techniques and applications for quantitative mineralogy and microanalysis of sediments and sedimentary rocks being used by geologists today. And although some applications are address, in particular for heavy mineral studies, the focus of this course is on the analytical techniques, which may be adapted to a wide variety of uses, depending on the needs of particular studies.

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