Applied mineral exploration methods, hydrothermal fluids, baro-acoustic decrepitation, CO2 rich fluids
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Selecting the best grainsize for decrepitation analyses

Decrepitation analyses are carried out on crushed grains, preferably monomineralic. The optimum sample grainsize depends on the fluid inclusion sizes and the host mineral. Several samples have been analysed on multiple size fractions to ascertain the most suitable grainsize to use for routine analyses. Grainsizes of -1100+600 microns (-20+30 mesh/inch), -600+420 microns (-30+40 mesh/inch), -420+200 microns (-40+80 mesh/inch) and <200 microns (<80 mesh/inch) have been analysed on several different minerals to determine the best size fraction to use. Coarse grainsize samples tend to give erratic (noisy) decrepigrams probably because only fluid inclusions near the grain surfaces decrepitate. Very fine grainsize samples give very low decrepitation levels, probably because many fluid inclusions are destroyed during sample crushing. The preferred grainsize for decrepitation analyses was selected to be the -420+200 micron fraction. The following graphs show the decrepitation results of each of these 4 grainsizes on 2 samples of quartz, 2 samples of andesite and one sample of dolomite. In the andesite samples, the fluid inclusions are probably hosted in feldspars.


2 samples of quartz from the Mt Pleasant Molybdenum prospect show that the highest response depends on the fluid inclusion population and varies for different populations within the same sample. For the low temperature population in sample A86925, the 2 coarse fractions (purple and green) give the highest response. But the response of the -420+200 micron fraction (blue) is good and this fraction usually gives less random fluctuations with temperature and better reproducibility. In the fine grained fraction (orange), many fluid inclusions have been destroyed in the sample preparation and the analytical response is unacceptably weak.

quartz sample, grainsize tests

quartz sample, grainsize tests


In these andesite samples, the fluid inclusions are probably hosted in feldspar minerals.The best response is in the -420+200 micron fraction (-40+80 mesh) (blue curve). The response in the <200 micron fraction (-80mesh) (orange curve) is substantially less. In sample ACH697-26 the -420+200 micron fraction was analysed twice, analyses C64 and C73 (blue and yellow), and these duplicate analyses are in very good agreement and show that variations in the different grainsize fractions are real and not merely instrumental reproducibility. The -420+200 micron fraction is the best for routine analyses.

andesite sample grainsize tests

andesite sample grainsize tests


In dolomite, the 3 coarser grainsize fractions give similar decrepitation intensity, but the -420+200 micron fraction (blue curve) gives the smoothest (least random noise) plot and is the best size for routine analyses. The fine grainsize fraction of <200 microns (orange curve) again shows weak decrepitation due to destruction of many fluid inclusions during sample preparation.

dolomite sample grainsize tests


For routine  decrepitation analyses, the best grainsize fraction is the -420+200 micron fraction. Coarser grainsize fractions can give useful results, but fine grainsize samples are unacceptable due to loss of fluid inclusions during sample crushing.

However if you are trying to avoid interference from fluid inclusions in other analytical experiments then use of fine grained sample fractions could help.