The advent of the petrographic microscope in the last quarter of the nineteenth century (e.g., Johannsen, 1922) transformed the study of geomaterials, opening a new window into the characterization of materials and the investigation of geological processes at the microscopic scale. With the development of the electron microscope, it became possible to push the limits even further, to submicroscopic scale with the scanning electron microscope, and to the atomic scale with transmission electron microscopes. Despite the tremendous advances brought by the application of optical and electron microscopy in geosciences, the perspective derived from their use suffers from the rather...

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