Heavy Mineral Analysis
High Resolution Heavy Mineral Analysis
Heavy Minerals Analysis can help you in understanding sediment provenance, dispersal patterns, and in correlating unfossiliferous detrital rocks. Combined with other services offered by our Sandtrak team, it can also help you in reservoir quality evaluation, stratigraphic identification, and burial history reconstruction. It can be performed on cuttings and cores, on siliciclastic sediments and sedimentary rocks.
Heavy Minerals (HM) represent detrital occurrences of rock-forming or accessory minerals that have specific gravities >2.8 g/cm3. These grains typically form less than 1 % of siliciclastic rocks. After a standard, rigorous procedure to concentrate HM, our specialists determine the HM composition of sediment through the optical identification of at least 200 non-opaque and non-micaceous HM for each sample.
The HM composition can be related to specific source lithologies, and thus to specific provenance areas. For instance, occurrence of sillimanite and kyanite indicate high-grade metamorphic rocks are in the sediment source area, while presence of Cr spinel indicates contribution from ultra-mafic rocks.
If further details are required after this conventional HM analysis, a HRHMA can be performed, through the identification of types of individual HM species (e.g. zircon, garnet, and tourmaline). The technique reduces the influence of secondary factors (e.g. hydraulic sorting and dissolution) controlling the HM composition and to recognising sedimentary reworking.
Automated Heavy Mineral Analysis
Our bespoke automated heavy mineral analysis service has been designed to offer faster turn-around times for delivering heavy mineral data to our clients. The service primarily utilises Raman spectroscopy to automatically identify heavy mineral species within a sediment. We also offer Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction as alternative methods for heavy mineral species characterisation.
These automated techniques can help support and enhance interpretations from our high-resolution heavy mineral analysis service, and act as a screening tool for determining the most suitable single-grain analysis techniques.
Our utilisation of Raman spectroscopy also enables us to analyse finer grained sediments than is typically possible with an optical microscopy. From this, we have developed our own Enhanced Siltstone Petrography service which aims to expand our capabilities beyond the typical analysis of sandstones into finer grained material that often can make up the bulk of sediments in a basin.