Textural and Mineralogical Analysis of Volcanic Rocks by µ-XRF Mapping

Microsc Microanal. 2016 Jun;22(3):690-7. doi: 10.1017/S1431927616000714. Epub 2016 May 10.


In this study, µ-XRF was applied as a novel surface technique for quick acquisition of elemental X-ray maps of rocks, image analysis of which provides quantitative information on texture and rock-forming minerals. Bench-top µ-XRF is cost-effective, fast, and non-destructive, can be applied to both large (up to a few tens of cm) and fragile samples, and yields major and trace element analysis with good sensitivity. Here, X-ray mapping was performed with a resolution of 103.5 µm and spot size of 30 µm over sample areas of about 5×4 cm of Euganean trachyte, a volcanic porphyritic rock from the Euganean Hills (NE Italy) traditionally used in cultural heritage. The relative abundance of phenocrysts and groundmass, as well as the size and shape of the various mineral phases, were obtained from image analysis of the elemental maps. The quantified petrographic features allowed identification of various extraction sites, revealing an objective method for archaeometric provenance studies exploiting µ-XRF imaging.

Keywords: Euganean trachyte; X-ray maps; micro-XRF imaging; modal composition; quantitative texture analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't