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Minerals

under the microscope


The MINERALS you need to know
quartz
microcline
plagioclase
muscovite
biotite
amphibole
pyroxene
olivine
garnet
calcite
quartz quartz

quartz
quartz

PPL XPL
Quartz
grains in sandstone
plagioclase

plagioclase

PPL XPL
Plagioclase
with repeated twinning
microcline microcline

PPL XPL

Microcline
grain in centre showing its distinctive cross-
hatched twinning
muscovite

muscovite

PPL XPL
PPL XPL

Muscovite
clear under PPL but with perfect cleavage and
bright interference colours
feldspar
feldspar

biotite

biotite

PPL : lower view rotated to show


pleochroism

XPL
biotite
Biotite
pleochroic with one perfect cleavage; strong
natural colour masks polarisation colours
making look greenish under XPL
amphibole

amphibole

PPL : lower view showing pleochroism

XPL
Amphibole
pleochroic with 2 cleavages at 60o or 120o
distinguishing it from biotite or pyroxene
pyroxene
pyroxene
enlarged

PPL XPL
Pyroxene
well-formed crystal seen here with 2 cleavages at 90 o:
brightly coloured under XPL
olivine
olivine

plagioclase plagioclase

PPL XPL
Olivine
looks like a stained-glass window; bright interference
colours and thick black fractures
garnet
garnet

PPL
Garnet XPL

rounded crystal, transparent under PPL but goes


extinct under XPL
calcite calcite

PPL XPL

Calcite
may show both high and low relief, transparent under PPL with
2 perfect cleavages at 120o. Under XPL it shows pearly shades