Quartz (SiO2) is the most abundant mineral in terrigenous sedimentary rocks and is exceedingly durable (surviving multiple generations of weathering and deposition). Quartz and silica occur in many varieties—true quartz in the form of megaquartz, chert, microquartz, or chalcedony and various other forms of silica, mainly opal (opal-A and opal-CT [cristobalite]).
Feldspars (XAl(1-2)Si(2-3)O8) are the most common rock- forming minerals in the Earth’s crust, and they occur in many varieties — ranging from sodium- and calcium-rich (plagioclase) to potassium-rich (K-feldspar or alkali feldspar). K-feldspars may also contain significant amounts of sodium in their crystal lattices. Feldspars are far less resistant than quartz to chemical and physical destruction and thus are altered or removed by weathering, transport and diagenesis, yielding secondary pores or alteration products (illite, white mica/sericite, albite or kaolinite). Even so, they are the second most abundant grains in sandstones, and identifying their mineralogy is crucial for accurate sandstone classification and provenance studies.
Figures & Tables
A Color Guide to the Petrography of Sandstones, Siltstones, Shales and Associated Rocks
AAPG Memoir 109 is designed as a practical guide for students and professionals to learn the fundamentals of microscopic examination of sandstones, mudrocks, and associated rocks. With more than 1100 color illustrations, it covers the identification of grains, textures, and structures of clastic terrigenous rocks as well as their diagenetic alteration (compaction, cementation, dissolution, and replacement) and porosity reduction or enhancement. It also provides classification diagrams for formal description of those rocks and their porosity. Although the majority of the outcrop and subsurface examples come from the United States (35 states and Puerto Rico), there are representative photographs from 32 other countries, including many from the offshore areas. The foldout birefringence chart and an included DVD with Powerpoint files of all of the petrographic images provide additional aids for instructors and students.