Abstract

A new chemical etching technique has been devised for synthetic Fe-free peridotites composed of forsterite (Fo), enstatite (En), and diopside (Di) Among the etchants were acids, molten carbonates, and borates, but it was found that only molten anhydrous borax (Na2B4O7) dissolved all phases equally. Molten anhydrous borax was found to be a successful etchant in equally enhancing all the grain (i.e., Fo-Fo, En-En, and Di-Di) and interphase (i.e., Fo-En, Fo-Di, and En-Di) boundaries. From the backscattered electron images of the etched surface, maps of grain- and interphase-boundaries can be obtained semi-automatically for microstructural analysis by using image processing software. An Fe-bearing wehrlite was also etched successfully by molten anhydrous borax, thus showing the usefulness of this technique for enhancing the grain- and interphase-boundaries in many natural peridotites.

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