You are on page 1of 104
Atlas of sedimentary rocks under the microscope A.E. Adams, W.S. MacKenzie and C.Guilford Contents Preface vi Acknowledgements vil Part | ‘Terrigenous clastic rocks 2 Part 2 Carbonate rocks 3 Part 3 Other sedimentary rocks 5 Appendix | Preparation of a thin section of a rock 7 Appendix 2 Staining a thin section ofa limestone 9 Appendix 3 Preparation of a stained acetate peel of a limestone 100 References 101 Index 102 Preface The study of rocks using thin sections and a pettographie microscope was initiated by Henry Clifton Sorby in the middle of the nineteenth century and the first rocks he deseribed were slicified limestones from the Jurassic i Yorkshire. This work was published Jn. 1831. His presidential address to the Geological Society of London in 1879 was emiitled “On the structure and origin of limestones’ and Sorby had « series of plates. made from camera lucida drawings, repeoduced for private cireulation with copies of the text of his address. ‘These illustrated the microscopic characteristies of limestones from through= jut the British geological record and amounted to the first petro- graphic atlas Despite the pertinence of Sorby's work, much of which is stil valid today. lew people recognized its importance al the time, While the petrographic study of igneous “ine metamoxphic rocks became increasingly important, that of sedimentary rocks languished until well into the present century. Since about 1950, with much geological research directed towards the search for oil and gas trapped in the ppore-spaces of sedimentary rocks, sedimentary petrography has become one of the most important fields of geology and forms a key part of most undergraduate courses. The aim of this books therefore similar (6 that of the previously published Ailes of igneous rocks aout ther textures, in that iis designe! {0 be a laboratory handbook for the student beginning & study of sedimentary rocks in thin section, whether he or she is an amateur oF ‘an undergraduate, Onlya basic knowledge of mineralogy and palaeon- {ology is assumed. While we make no claim that the book is ‘comprehensive, we have tried te inelude photographs of most of the ‘components of sedimentary racks encountered in thin sections during aan undergraduate course in geology The book is in three parts. Part I deals with the terrigenous elastic socks and concentrates on sandstones, since the petrographie micro- scope is most uselully employed with rocks of this grain size, We have ‘tempted to show the common detrital components of sandstones ancl the range of rock types occurring, without becoming involved in tails ofthe many classifications which exist Pari 2 deals with thecarbonate racks and is the longest section in the book. This is because to the newcomer to carbonate petrology. limestones contain a bewildering variety of grain iypes. The biockasts in particular show such variation in shape and structure that it has been dificult to know what to leave out. We have attempted to show the range of common bioclast types while realizing that this section of the book cannot be comprehensive within the limits of the number of photographs which weare able to reproduce, Most of the photographs of limestones are Irom stained thin sections and acetate peels. The Slaining aids identifieation of minerals and textures and also makes limestones more attractive to study, The reader examining a collection of unstained sections of carbonate rocks should still find the photo- graphs and (ext uselul in identifying. grain ypes. and textures Photographs of unstained limestone sections are included throughout 10 remind the reader what untreated material looks like Part 3 illustrates ironstones, cherts, evaporites, phosphorites and «carbonaceous rocks in thin section, We hope the section on evaporites will be of particular interest, as published colour photomicrographs of some minerals are rare. Three appendices are included. Appendix { is a slightly modified form of the appendix in the Aitas of igneous rocks nul their textures and describes how a thin section may be made, Appeudix 2 describes method of staining thin sections of limestones and Appendix 3 contains instructions on how to make aeetate peels ‘Throughout the book we have tried to keep the text deseriplive and toavoid details oFinterpretation. However, it has proved impossible to ‘omit discussion in some cases, particularly with the earhonate rocks where identification of grains and textures goes hand i hard with an interpretation of their origin, We have attempted to show typical ‘material rather than particularly good examples of any feature illustrated. Extensive cross-referencing is given to help the reer in finding other photographs of sinular phenomena. Inevitably the bulk of the illustrated material comes from the British Iles: we believe however that itis representative of sedimentary rocks the world over Finally, we must repeat the cautionary note in the prefitce to Alas of neous rocks and thew estures, This book isi laboratory handbook «assist in the study of sedimentary rocks in thin section. There is no substitute for the student examsining material uneler the mieroseope for hhim- or herself and we hope this book will encourage students to make their own petrographic observations. Acknowledgements “Although this book is based on thin sections and acetate peels held in ‘the teaching collections of the Department of Geology, University of Manchester, it would not have been possible without the generous loan of material from the research collections of many colleagues, We are particularly indebted o Professor Sir Frederick Stewart who loaned ‘much of the material for the evaporites section. We are grateful to Drs. J. M. Anketell, P. Gutteridge, J. Kantorowiez, J. E. Pollard. AT. 8. Ramsay, K. Schofield, Mr R. D. Vaughan and Professor E, K. Walton, all of whom loaned material and made suggestions or comments.on the manuscript. We would also like to thank Professor J. B. Dawson for permission to include a photograph of one of Sorby’s thin sections from the collection held at Sheffield University. We wish to thank Patricia Crook for her patient typing of various versions of the text and Phil Stubley for drafting the originals of the diagrams. Finally we wish 10 acknowledge the help given to us by all the staif of the Longman Group, ‘We acknowledge permission from Springer Verlag and Professor 4J.Pettijohn to reproduce Figs. A and D, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for Figs, B and F and Tables 3 and 4