Optical mineralogy, enhanced by such innovations as the spindle stage, Nomarski differential-interference contrast techniques, and advanced staining methods, is the centerpiece of so much of mineralogy and petrology. From laboratory research to site studies to field studies, optical mineralogy plays a pivotal role in the identification of phases, the deduction of paragenetic sequences, and the interpretation of textures. Individual members of solid-solution series commonly can be identified within a few mole percent and, armed with only a pinch of crushed and sieved rock, an experienced practitioner can run down all the contained phases precisely, using but three or four immersion...

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