Infrared absorption spectra may be used in various ways to gain information on minerals and mineral aggregates. Although the emphasis has been on "fingerprinting" mineral substances, the composition, structure and mode of combination of molecular ions (anionic radicals) in unidentified materials may also be determined. Some basic concepts and problems vital to the intelligent utilization of infrared data are discussed, and select spectra are shown to illustrate absorption trends within various mineral groups. Numerous applications to geologic problems should suggest themselves with increasing familiarity with the field.

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