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Analytical techniques

heavy mineral image

Heavy mineral analysis is applied to sandstones. The method is applicable to all types of samples including cores, side wall cores and ditch cuttings. Following disaggregation, the heavy mineral suite is separated from the 63-125um fraction using heavy liquids. A relatively narrow size fraction is used because this minimises the effects of changes in grain size on heavy mineral populations.

The following analytical techniques are utilised:

Optical petrography

This enables us to determine the relative abundance of all the components of the heavy mineral assemblages and to calculate provenance sensitive heavy mineral ratios.

Electron microprobe

This enables us to determine major element compositions of individual mineral populations such as garnet and tourmaline.

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Laser ablation ICP-MS analysis

This technique is used to determine trace-element compositions of individual mineral populations, such as apatite and rutile.

Sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe analysis (SHRIMP)

This technique is used to date zircons and is carried out in association with the Research School of Earth Sciences, at the Australian National University, Canberra.

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