Typical granite is mainly composed of quartz, plagioclase, and alkali feldspars, together with some smaller fractions of ferromagnesian phases and trace phases. The occurrence and abundance of these minerals can be determined by destructive methods, but the three-dimensional (3D) visualization of these mineral structures is very difficult. For geological samples, X-ray microcomputed tomography (μCT) is a very powerful tool to visualize 3D structures. However, μCT imaging is based on the X-ray linear attenuation coefficient, which depends on atomic composition, density, and X-ray energy, sometimes making it hard to identify different phases inside the sample. This problem can be overcome by combining μCT with other techniques that provide chemical information. The combination of μCT with micro-X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) allows segmentation and identification of the different minerals at the surface of the sample. Combining this information with the 3D density model obtained through μCT scanning of the granite allows 3D phase identification.
In this paper the results of the analysis of a representative Precambrian granite by these three complementary techniques are discussed and combined with the results of more traditional techniques like thin-section petrography. Although the granite sample is shown to be very heterogeneous, correct phase identification in 3D is obtained.