Geology, Petrology and Mining

Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is a widely used technique in all fields of the geosciences and in mining. Although primarily used as a tool to study the deformation of rocks (for research into structural geology and tectonics), increasingly EBSD is used in metamorphic and igneous petrology, as well as for characterising ore-bearing rocks. EBSD is also being applied to the study of meteorites, with numerous applications characterising the complex structures in a range of different meteorite samples, allowing researchers to determine the conditions and processes active during their formation.

Typical applications of EBSD in this segment include:

  • Determining deformation mechanisms in tectonic rocks
  • Reconstructing pressure-temperature paths by the identification of key metamorphic minerals
  • Reconstructing paleo-stresses by detailed grain size analyses
EBSD grain relative orientation deviation map of a quartz mylonite, showing large, deformed grains

Grain relative orientation deviation map of a quartz mylonite, highlighting extensive intragranular deformation within large, unrecrystallised grains

Application Notes

Unlocking the secrets of nanoscale structures in fault rocks

The microstructures of rocks created during the process of faulting are typically very difficult to measure due to high defect densities and nanoscale grain sizes. Conventional EBSD in a high resolution SEM can provide some reliable data, but newly developed EBSD pattern matching methods are able to extract significantly more useful information from fault rock samples. In this application note both conventional EBSD and TKD are used, in conjunction with pattern matching, to understand faulting processes in complex earthquake rocks.

Characterising Complex Rock Samples

An eclogite sample containing 10 phases has been rapidly analysed using integrated EBSD and EDS. The performance of Symmetry enables high pattern resolution and good indexing, even at 250 pps.

Fast Characterisation of Deformed Quartz Rocks

A relatively simple geological sample, a quartz mylonite, is here characterised in a matter of minutes using Symmetry, collecting data at almost 1000 pps.

Determining the metamorphic history of rocks using combined EBSD and EDS

Reconstructing the metamorphic evolution of rocks often depends on the identification of key minerals that are only stable at specific temperatures and pressures. Combined EBSD and EDS analyses enable more rigorous phase identification than conventional techniques, with the added benefit of providing insights into a rock’s deformation and chemical history.



High-speed characterisation of ore samples

This webinar will highlight examples of fast, integrated EBSD and EDS analysis from a range of ore-bearing samples including chromite-bearing pyroxenites from the Bushveld igneous complex in South Africa, the world's largest reserve of platinum group metals and gold placer deposits from Scotland. 

Watch on demand

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