Fluid Inclusion Techniques of Analysis
Few areas of geochemistry have challenged the ingenuity and patience of researchers as much as the analysis of fluid inclusions (see reviews by Roedder, 1972, 1984, 1990; Hollister, 1981; Shepherd et al., 1985; Boiron and Dubessy, 1994). From simple optical techniques to the use of particle accelerators, no stone has been left unturned in the search for analytical perfection. Progress has been painfully slow and, by comparison with methods for the analysis of rocks and minerals, we are still in the rudimentary stages of development. The last five years, however, have seen a quantum leap in progress, largely as a result of rapid advances in microbeam technology that have established new standards in sensitivity, precision, and accuracy. Though rooted historically in the study of ore deposits, many of the recent breakthroughs have been pioneered by analysts in the petroleum and materials science industries. in the wider field of chemistry, techniques tend to fall into two categories: those for organic and those for inorganic constituents. The situation is very similar with regard to elemental and isotope analysis. This has tended to polarize studies of the composition of fluid inclusions much to the detriment of all concerned, in particular those geologists concerned with the genesis of low-temperature, sediment-hosted hydrothermal deposits where organic material plays an important role in the distribution of ore minerals. Fortunately, technology transfer is now resulting in hybrid instruments that offer multiple capabilities and should lead to a substantial broadening of opportunities and applications.