It’s a rare student who is not captivated by the first sight of a thin section under crossed polarizers with a petrographic microscope. Many students who are ultimately captured by petrography develop a relationship with microscopy that is one of continuous fascination. More modern analytical instrumentation has revolutionized petrology, but the enduring role of optical petrography calls directly to one of our most powerful senses, with a direct feed to the analytical brain in ways that remote inspection of samples crushed, vaporized, or loaded in vacuum chambers cannot claim. Optical petrography is old but it retains a unique and fundamental...

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