In Situ Analysis in Geological Thin-Sections by Laser Raman Microprobe Spectroscopy: A Cautionary Note

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The advent of laser Raman microprobe (LRM) instruments has permitted researchers to analyze minute (≥ 1 μm) phases in situ in their rock matrix. Geologists prefer to study such samples in polished thin-sections (in which a rock wafer is fixed with a mounting medium onto a glass slide and thinned to 30 μm thickness) or in doubly polished unmounted rock wafers (≥30 μm) like those used for microthermometry. There obviously are many advantages to doing in situ LRM analysis: direct observation of the sample grain in its textural and mineralogical context, preservation of the grain for analysis by additional techniques, and lack of physical disruption and possible modification of the grain caused by physical removal from its matrix. However, there are some problems inherent in this application of the LRM technique. This brief communication is a cautionary note about three possible artifacts that may arise during in situ LRM analysis of graphitic material and hydrocarbon fluids in polished rock sections.

Keywords: Geological materials; Graphite; Laser Raman microprobe; Methane; Raman spectroscopy

Document Type: Short Communication


Affiliations: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, Box 1169, St. Louis, Missouri 63130

Publication date: March 1, 1989

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