In the preceding chapters, I presented examples of applications of SIMS techniques to various aspects of geochemistry. With my narrative I hoped that the usefulness of microanalysis for providing observations pertinent to the “big picture” was self-evident. I feel, however, that some redundancy may be important here to drive the point home.

The “big picture”, in the present context, is composed of two distinct elements. The first is juxtaposed scale lengths of observation (micrometre scales) and natural processes (kilometres or more). A good example is how the ion probe-based REE abundance patterns of clinopyroxenes in abyssal peridotites provide strong evidence...

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