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The objective of this experiment is to study and identify the rocks and the minerals under the
microscope. In this experiment, two samples of rocks were used to identify the types of rocks
and the minerals in it. Thin section of rock helps to examine the rocks and minerals. The cutting
machine was used to cut the rocks to the desired thickness which is up to 4mm. The rock was
slowly cut to prevent from broken in to part. The sample then polished by sand paper and then
was attached to the thermoplastic to the glass slide. Then, continued to minimize the samples
up to 0.01mm. The samples been observed under the microscope. The sample was magnified
into 4 different sizes which is 4X, 10X, 20X and 40X. The characteristics of the rocks were

There are many kinds of rock, and they can be classified in a number of ways. However,
geologists classify rocks based on how the rocks were formed. The three classes are igneous
rocks, metamorphic rocks and sedimentary rocks materials from other rocks.
Petrography is the study of rocks and the minerals inside the rocks. Making up the
majority of the Earth's crust, rock is usually defined as a mixture of common minerals. Rocks
can be hard or soft, as small as a grain or as large as a building. The most demands reservoir is
sandstone reservoir which having high permeability and porosity. The general preparation
sequence for making transparent thin sections is as follow: sectioning, vacuum impregnation,
grinding, cementing to a slide, resectioning, grinding and polishing. Generally a thin section
must be prepared to a thickness of approximately 30m. (Courtesy of Buehler LTD). Thin
section has been used in field of geology since the mid-nineteenth century. It is used in German
archeology on ceramic materials from sites ranging in date from Neolitic to the Middle Ages.
Rock identification is a systematic process, requiring concise, accurate descriptions of
physical characteristics. This process is called petrography. Geologists
use petrographic descriptions to communicate the essential features of rocks in writing (with
illustrations / photographs if appropriate). Petrographic descriptions also summarise these
characteristics for future reference. They should contain sufficient information to allow
identification of the rock.
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Systematic petrographic descriptions, as the name suggests, should follow a systematic pattern
detailing the necessary information in a set order. Geologists need to be able to determine the
physical properties of rocks based on observations and simple tests that can be conducted in
the field.


The objective of this experiment is to study the rocks and minerals using a microscope. Cross
sections are useful for the identification of rocks, minerals and ores.

Sedimentary rocks are the product of the erosion of existing rocks. Eroded material
accumulates as sediment, either in the sea or on land, and is then buried, compacted and
cemented to produce sedimentary rock (a process known as diagenesis). There are two major
groupings of sedimentary rocks which is clastic sedimentary rocks and non-clastic sedimentary
rocks. Clastic sedimentary rock is the fragments of pre-existing rocks or minerals that make up
a sedimentary rock are called clasts. Sedimentary rocks made up of clasts that are
called clastic (clastic indicates that particles have been broken and transported). While for non-
clastic sedimentary rocks, occur when minerals / mineraloids are precipitated directly from water
or are concentrated by organic matter / life. Components have not been transported prior to
deposition. No clasts are present.
While Igneous rocks are formed by the solidification of magma, a silicate liquid
generated by partial melting of the upper mantle or the lower crust. Different environments of
formation, and the cooling rates associated with these, create very different textures and define
the two major groupings within igneous rocks which is volcanic rocks and plutonic rocks.
Volcanic rock is form when magma rises to the surface and erupts, either as lava or pyroclastic
material. The rate of cooling of the magma is rapid, and crystal growth is inhibited. Volcanic
rocks are characteristically fine-grained. Volcanic rocks often exhibit structures caused by their
eruption for instance flow banding (formed by shearing of the lava as it flows),
and vesicles (open cavities that represent escaped gasses).
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Plutonic rocks form when magma cools within the Earth's crust. The rate of cooling of
the magma is slow, allowing large crystals to grow. Plutonic rocks are characteristically coarse-
Metamorphism is the alteration of pre-existing rocks in the solid state due to changes in
temperature and pressure. Under increasing temperature and / or pressure
existing minerals become unstable and break down to form new minerals.
Guide to the classification of metamorphic rocks by texture

Grain size
Fine Medium Coarse
Poorly foliated Hornfels Marble, quartzite Marble, quartzite
Well foliated Slate Schist Gneiss
Well foliated and sheared Mylonite Mylonite, schist Augen gneiss

The purpose of polishing a thin section of sample is to allow effective transmission of
light from below the microscope stage, through the sample, and to the eyepiece as through a
variety of available analytical lenses and optical devices (e.g polarizer).

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Figure 1: Thin Sectioning Lapping Machine

Figure 2 : Rock Cutting Machine

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Figure 3: Microscope
1. Glass slide
2. Hotplate
3. Sand paper

1. Rock sample
2. Thermoplastic cement

Procedure for using the Rock Cutting Machine
1. Power supply was switched on and light was turned.
2. Hood was opened and the sample was clamped firmly in the clamping device. Make sure
that the sample is not too loose or too tight to prevent broken off sample.
3. The path of the flange was checked before cutting the rock. Re-position the vise assembly if
the black knob and the screw pin can touch the flange.
4. Hood was closed and pump was turned on.
5. The start button was pressed and the cut-off wheel is taken slowly towards the rock sample.

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Procedure for using the Thin Section Lapping Machine
1. Power supply was switched on and the light was turned on.
2. Cover is opened and the rock sample was put on the position.
3. Vacuum was turned on and cover was closed.
4. Water that connected to the pipe was opened and start button was pressed.

Procedure for using the Polarizing Microscope
1. Power supply was switched on and subsequently PC is switched on.
2. Rock sample was put on the rotating stage and microscope was switched on.
3. The focus knob was adjusted by turning it to get the desired image.
4. Camera button was pressed to capture an image and image captured ready to use with
AnalySIS software.
5. Images was saved and copied to the CD.
Procedure of the experiment
1. The rock sample was cut into small piece with a thickness of 4.0 mm using Rock Cutter.
2. Procedure of Rock cutting was applied by wearing proper PPE.
3. Desired surface of the sample was smoothed using sand paper.
4. Slide was heated on hotplate while thermoplastic cement is swept on the slide the
sample on the slide.
5. Procedure for using the Thin Section Lapping Machine was applied to thinning the
sample to a thickness of approximately 3 m.
6. Thin sample is observed with a polarizing microscope by followed procedure of the
polarizing microscope.
7. Each apparatus is switched off after be used.

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This experiment was conducted to study and identify the rocks and the minerals under
the microscope. Thin sections are then being examined using a polarizing transmitted-light
which we can call it as a polarized light microscope.

Based on sample1, the image is not to clear, but based on the colour, it is pale in colour
and pale is one of the characteristics of limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock, made of
bits dropping to the bottom of the sea. It most commonly forms in clear, warm and shallow
marine waters. The minerals calcite and dolomite are the main ingredients of limestone.

Most of sandstone classifications are based on the composition of the rock. The four
major of components of sandstones are framework, matrix, cement and pores. Framework is a
sand grain made up of crystals of two or more different minerals, sand and silt size detrital
grains. Matrix is a fine grained material that associated with the sand grains, silt and clay size
detrital material. Cement is a material precipitated post-depositionally, during burial. Cement fill
pores and replace framework grains. Pores is the void in the rock. From the result obtained,
sample 2 is classified as sandstone because it contains quartz, feldspar, cement, pore and
matrix. This can be seen at the 4 x magnifier and 10 x magnifiers. Sand grain shape and
angularity are useful properties for describing and differentiating sandstone.

The identification of rock is quite complicated with less knowledges about it. The help of
expert in this field is important to help for identifying the types of rocks and minerals.

Both samples have been observed and contain some of the different characteristics. The colour
of sample 1 is quite pale compared to sample 2 but sample 2 was considered as sandstone
because it has the characteristics of sandstone. However, the image of sample 1 was not too
clear and was not easily to be identified. The study of the structure and characteristics of
minerals is fundamental to the identification of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock.
Moreover, the depositional environment can also be identified.

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1. Make sure that the sample rock must be clamped which is not too loose or too tight to
prevent from sample broken.
2. Careful when dealing with the hotplate during melting the thermoplastic cement to avoid any
3. Make sure that the thermoplastics cement covered all part of the sample to prevent air
bubbles. .
4. Should have knowledge in handling the machine such as rock cutting machine and thin
sectioning machine in order to avoid any accident happen during the experiment.
5. During rock cuttings, the pump must switch on that we can get a smooth and to cool down
the blade.
6. Should have expert to help to identify the rock.

1. Thin Section Tutorial , Retrieved 5
May 2014, from

2. Geology rock and Mineral, Metamorphic rock .Retrieved from 13 May 2014 from
3. Geology rock and Mineral, Sedimentary rock. Retrieved from 13 May 2014 from
4. Geology rock and Mineral, Igneous rock. Retrieved from 13 May 2014 from

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