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Blue-light fluorescence microscopy applied to carbonate petrography can result in more accurate recognition of depositional facies, diagenetic history, and porosity evolution in some pervasively dolomitized or recrystallized limestones previously uninterpretable using existing petrographic techniques. Fluorescence microscopy also has other useful applications for the study of less diagenetically altered carbonates.
Preliminary observations establish that fluorescence microscopy potentially can: (1) make depositional grain types and textures visible in thin sections of massively dolomitized or recrystallized limestones; (2) identify or clarify diagenetic fabrics; (3) more precisely relate porosity evolution to depositional fabric and diagenesis; (4) provide a clearer understanding of the relative timing of diagenetic events (dolomitization, pressure solution, cementation, neomorphism) and their relationship to porosity evolution; (5) aid in the differentiation of carbonate cement from neomorphic spar, both for calcite and dolomite; (6) permit more rapid evaluation of mineralogical stabilization and neomorphism in Holocene and Pleistocene carbonates; and (7) improve delineation of porosity and por geometries.
Fluorescence microscopy is a rapid, easily-used and nondestructive technique that requires no special sample preparation. As with standard staining techniques or cathodoluminescence, this tool does not work for all samples. However, when fluorescence microscopy is successfully applied to the study of carbonates, it elicits important information from a thin section that, in many cases, other standard petrographic techniques fail to detect. Based on its potential usefulness, fluorescence microscopy should become a routine tool for the petrographic evaluation of carbonates.
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