Thin section petrography

For a description of the mineral content of a rock we apply thin section microscopy under crossed polarized light. Polarized light, when traveling through a crystal is split up into two waves of different velocity which are resolved by a second polarization process just before the polarized light passes through the object lense. The interference of these two waves gives characteristic colours which help to identify minerals. Additional information for mineral identification is provided by the fact that polarized light microscopy gives information about the crystal symmetry. Moreover, thin section microscopy under plane polarized light can be applied to verify the results of crossed polarized light microscopy.

Polarized light microscopy is in particular useful for medium to coarse grained rocks, such as sparitic limestone, sandstone and most igneous (in particular plutonic) and metamorphic rocks.

In the case of sedimentary rocks thin section microscopy helps in the characterisation and identification of depositional and diagenetic conditions as well as in the quantification of pore space and evaluation of pore connectivity: information, which is of particular importance when evaluating reservoir and source rocks.

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In September 2019 the Swiss National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste (NAGRA) commisioned Gesteinslabor with UCS, Brazilian and triaxial tests on neighbouring rocks of the Opalinus Clay - the rock which will host Switzerland's future facilities for nuclear waste disposal.

Gesteinslabor receives funding from BMWi for the development of a new test rig. With this funding, our company will open up a new business field in renewable energies by implementing an innovative technology to determine the capillary threshold pressure with hydrogen on cap rock of underground gas storage facilities.