Abstract

Point count estimates of pore, grain and cement volumes from thin sections are inaccurate, often by more than 100 percent, even though they may be surprisingly precise (reproducibility + or - 3 percent). Errors are produced by: 1) inclusion of submicroscopic pore space within solid volume and 2) edge effects caused by grain curvature within a 30-micron thick thin section. Submicroscopic porosity may be measured by various physical tests or may be visually estimated from scanning electron micrographs. Edge error takes the form of an envelope around grains and increases with decreasing grain size and sorting, increasing grain irregularity and tighter grain packing. Cements are greatly involved in edge error because of their position at grain peripheries and their generally small grain size. Edge error is minimized by methods which reduce the thickness of the sample viewed during point counting. Methods which effectively reduce thickness include use of ultra-thin thin sections or acetate peels, point counting in reflected light, or carefully focusing and counting on the upper surface of the thin section.

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