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Electromagnetic spectrum include Gamma rays, X-rays, UV rays,

visible light, infrared and radiowave. The light is considered as waves of
electromagnetic energy vibrating through the medium of other. The light is'
a combination of seven different colours ranging in wave length from 700
m/u. 'for red and 410 m/u for violet (1 m/u = millionth of a millimeter).
The light is visible because the waves of these lengths are capable of
stimulating our optic nerves. In the transmission of light energy is passed
on from one particle to the next, and so on. The Transmission takes place in
the form of waves. There are motions in two directions. 1) In the direction
of propagation there is an uniform rectilinear motion. 2) In the transverse
direction the motion seems to take place around a circle with uniform
velocity and in a straight line as a to and fro motion with periodic, variation
of velocity. It moves from its original position with decreasing velocity. After
reaching a point of maximum displacement it returns with increasing

velocity to its original position, Again it moves with decreasing velocity until
it reaches a displacement equal and opposite in direction and' returns. The
motion is called periodic motion or vibration or harmonic motion. A
combination of these two motions', harmonic and rectilinear, prevails in the
form of a curve wave form. This curve is celled a simple harmonic curve.
All the horizontal sections of the above indicatrlcea will be circular in
owfcltae and at: A is clear that they will be isotropic under crossed nicolsi
TW normal to these sections coincide with the ' 0' axis. This &'reet.ton i
taOvr as optic ggcig direction. Optic axis direction as one in wb.icVi
there 3-
no double refraction. All the other sections are elliptical at\k so sn
isotropic. As there is only one optic axis is tetragonal and hexagonal
minerals they are called uniaxial. The biaxial groun includes the minerals
of the orthorhombic monoclinic and triclinic systems. In the biaxial
minerals thure are three especially important/vibration directions. There
is at right angles .to each .other. They are designated as X, Y, and Z.
These directions are sometimes called axes of elasticity or
ether axes. . The light vibrating parallel to 'X.' has themaximum
velocity. Its refractive index is light vibrating parallel to.' has the
intermediate velocity. Its refractive index is refractive Index is The optical
structure, Fletcher's indie.-vi: :lx , is a triaxial ellipsoid. It has three axes ax
right angles to each other. The lengths of the axes are proportional in length
to the indices ana"- This figure exhibits the optical symmetry. The velocity
andplace of vibration of any light 2355s ray traversing the crystal may be
derived from this figure. Any section through the indicatrix will be an
elliptical section. - The major and minor diameters of such a section vdll give
the indices and- planes of vibration of the two possible rays. The wave
fronts lie in this plane. There are two circular sections. The radius of
these circular sections is the semiaxial length of these sections is isotropic.
Light passing in the direction normal to these directions suffers no double
refraction. These two are the optic axes directions. These optic axes lie in
the Z-Z plane and so this plane is called optic axial ulane. 'Y is
normal to this plane an d it is called Q-ptjrtTnormal. The acute angle
between the two axes is called psftic axial angle or ' 2V. The ether axis -
which bisects this angle is called acute bisectrix. When ' Z' is the
acute bisectrix the mineral is negative.
She -grffiifo,. ellipsoid is vibration, velocity ellipsoid. The three
principal axes are proportional to the velocities of light vibrating parallel to
X, Y svd S respectively. In .this ellipsoid there sire two c;..'.vrai r
fiactions . In the directions normal to these eirovJ.ir sections light err not
be doubly refracted. These are the optic .wis directions. These
directions are slightly different from the cirections of optic axes of the
indicatrix (-primary optic
exes). These are called secondary o-ptic axes
for the sake, of distinction. The angular variation between, the two sets
of optic axes .is usually very small, perhaps 1 or less. In the figure the
circle with radius 1/ interseots the ellipse whose major and minor axes
are 1/ and 1/ in the points S', S, S' S' In these directions
(secondary optic axes) velocity is same for both rays. Hence within the
crystal these rays travel together without double fraction. However,
there is no common wave front for these two rays (Tangents mm and nn).
Therefore on emerging they dp suffer double refraction. In fact two external
light waves are formed. The directions are Su and Sy, Therefore these
secondary optic axes directions are of minor importance. Whenever optic
axes are spoken of, they are always ihe primary optic axes. The primary
optic axes (PP, P''$>) directions are normal to the tangent planes (tt, t't')
the direction of the external wave is given by the normal, P-W.
The microscope used for the investigation of minerals is called the
Petrological or Pe trogra ph'ic microscope. The PePrologica 1 microscope is
a compound microscope. Pig A petrographic microscope essentially consists
of a stand having a 'heavy foot and a pillar. A revolving stage and a
tube are attached to this pillar. A mirror and a polariser are found below
.the stage in most microscopes. The tube carries the objective, the
analyzer and an occulgr or eye piece.
The stage is a circular table upon which the thin section is placed for
examination. The stage may be rotated. The amount of rotation is
determined by means of a graduated scale and

vernier. It has a central
opening through which the light passes. The thin section is usually held in
place on this stage by spring object clips. . As the vernier is made to
coincide with successive divisions of the larger scale, each successive
coincidence indicates an advance of 1/10 of a division.
The tube is straight or inclined. Objective lens is attached to the
lower end of the tube. There is -a short collar near the objective holder.
This collar contains a slot for the insertion of optical accessories like quartz
wedge, mica plate or gypsum plate. 'The centre 'of rotation of the stage
should be on the axis of the tube. This centre should coincide with the
intersection of the cross hairs of the ocular. If the centre of rotation help or
two appears lying outside this intersection, it is set right with the/
centering screws. The focusing is d one "by ra is ing or lowering the tube.
In general there are two adjustments, one coarse and one fine. In some
recent, microscopes the stage is adjusted. The substage is ring beneath the
revolving stage. It carries the polariser and the condensing lens.
One djaphram is found above or below the polarizer. It is used: to
regulate the amount of light admitted to the eye. Another diaphram is placed
above or below the Bertrand lens. It is used to cut out interfering minerals
from the field of view. Usually a diaphram is of the iris type. This
consists of a number of overlaping leave attached by pins to the rim of a
casing. The central opening of this is enlarged or diminished by moving a
The illuminating apparatus of a microscope consists of a mirror, a
diaphram and' a system of condensing lenses. By means of a lever the
condenstag lens may be thrown out or kept in. The mirror is used to reflect
the light from the source to the object. A plane mirror forms one side and
a concave mirror on the other. The mirror may be inclined in any direction.
The plane mirror is used with low magnifications and the concave for
higher magnification. Rico 1 prism or polaroid is used to produce polarised
light. It forms an important adjunct to the petrographic microscope. There
are two-polarizing prisms. The lower nicol is called the polarizer and the
uppernicol analyzer. The upper nicol is made to slide in a slot in the tube.
These two nicols are positioned in such a manner that their vibration
directions are perpendicular each other. When they are in exact crossed
position the field appears dark. Bsrtrend lens swings to and fro in a lever in
the upper part of the tube. This lens acts as a small microscope. In
connection with the ocular /magnifies the image. The objective lens at the
lower end of the tube receives. The light from the object first. It magnifies
the image. An objective is of low power when its focal length is 13mm
and its magnification is less than Yo diameters. It is of high power when
its magnification is over 40 diameters. In between these two is of medium
power. In most forms of the eyepiece or ocular two lens are used. The
Huygens or ^negative eyepiece consists of two simple plane convex lenses.
The plane surfaces are found toward the eye. The upper' lens';is called
eye lens and lower collective or field lens. This is commonly used. Fig.
In the Ransden or positive eyepiece the convex sides of the two lenses are
facing each other. This is used in special work such as making measurement
with micro meter.
There are two cross hairs in the ocular, perpendicular to each
other and parallel to the vibration directions of the nicols. Apart from
the above parts there are some optical accessories like gypsum plate.
Quartz wedge. mica plate and bere compensator.
There are mainly 4 optical accessories employed in the study of
minerals in thin section. They are 1) Gypsum plate 2) micaplate 3) Quartz
wedge and 4) Berek compensator. A Gypsum paste is cut to such a
thickness as to produce a violet Interferenoe colour (colour value about.570)
of the upper limit of the first order between crossed nicols. It is usually
cementedjbetween narrow glass plates and mounted in a metals holder. It
is marked sensitive, tint, Red First order or Gyps rot I. The arrow at one
endjaf 'this acjDessorx indicates the direction of vibration of the slow ray,
%. It is called a sensitive tint because the eye is especially sensitive even
to a slight change of the tint in this part of the colour scale. Therefore
the gypsum plate is used in the case of minerals of weak double refraction
aid especially with minerals which produce gray interference colours. Fig.
micaplate is prepared with a thin flake of white mica. It is so thin
a_s_tp;produce a J5a_le_gray interference colour (colour; value\ about
150.)''. The fast ray would gain one quarter (1/4/S) of a wave length in
phase over the other. This thin mica flake is usually mounted between
long.and narrow glass plates. . It is commonly marked 1/4M with an arrow
indicating the Z, slow opt ic al d irec ti on. The mica plate of this small
retardation is especially Valuable^for. Testing minerals which give bright
colours of II ana III orders. Fig. The quartz wedge consists
simply of a very thin tapering wedge. The wedge may be cut so that its
length is parallel either to 'c ' | or 'a'. Crystallographic axis of the crystal
quartz. This wedge is cemented to a piece of glass that is mounted in a
metal holder Fig. The plate is generally marked with the letter Q (quartz)
and an arrow. When the wedge, is cut with its longer direction at right
angles to the vertical axis of a quartz crystal the arrow is marked' Z. (or_y) ,
the slow ray direction. When it is cut with its longer direction parallel to
the vertical axis of the quartz the arrow is marked X (orcC ) the fast
direction. The quartz wdge furnishes a prismatic section of varying thickness
aril, of known orientation, when the quartz wedge is pushed, into the slot in
the microscope at 45 position between crossed nicols, interference
colours occur in the following order as the thickness of the quartz wedge
Whereases: violet, bj,ue, green, yellow, orange, red. This sequence of
colours is repeated three times quite distinctly and then the colours
becomes fainter and not so cltfar.\;...This series of interference colours is
divided into orders as shown hei-ow in the figure.
To determine the exact extinction' position of any mineral the mineral
section is brought to^tne. Posit ion of maximum dark-ness between crossed
nicols. The#the gypsum plate is inserted through the slot in the
microscope at 45 position. If, it is the exact extinction position of the
mineral the entire field including the mineral is coloured, in violet. Even if
there is a slight difference in position the mineral shows a markedly different
colour. There the. siage with the mineral may be slightly rotated to the
position in. which the entire field uniformly shows violet colour.
2) Determination of relative velocities and optic ai^n of minerals; the two
rays coming. To determine the relative velocities of from a doubly refracting'
mineral section, the section is brought tp the 4 5 position under crossed
nicols and the interference coloured is noticed. How an accessory plate is
inserted. If the like vibration directions ( ( i . e. ) fast of the mineral
and. fast of the accessory and slow of the mineral and slow of the
accessory) coincide the retardation increases and the intensity of the
interference colour also increases. When unlike vibration directions' coincide
the colour fall* as the retardation deoreaoes. Irom these results, relative
velocities may be determined easily as the accessory of known vibration
direction is employed. Uniaxial crystals or cleavage fragments that show
consistant elongation must be elongated parallel to 'c '. If the fast ray is
parallel to the direction of elongation the mineral is said to have negative
elongation (i e) Length-Fast. If the slow ray is parallel to the direction of
elongation then the mineral is said to have positive elongation (i . e. )
Length-slow. Pig. Thus the c crystallographic direction of the uniaxial
mineral may be determined with the help of the habit and cleavage and
the sign of the uniaxial mineral may be determined.
Along the c direction extraordinary ray; vibrates. If it is fast the
mineral is negative and if it is slow the mineral is positive.
Determination of optic sifen from uniaxial optic^axls interference
f iguire: To determine, the optic sign from uniaxial" 6ptie a*16 figure an
appropriate accessor)'plate must be chosen and used. If the bireferingence
of the mineral under examination is weak and the interference figure is
devoid of colour bands, it is best to use a gypsum plate. Strong
nd bright colpurg in the interference figure call for use of a
mica plate. The quartz wedge is best, used when ari interference figure
shows many isoehromes or colour bands'. In the uniaxial optic axis
interference figure
"Sfee vibration planes are radial and tangential in
relation to the cone of rays. The radial vibrations are in the planes which
pass through the optic axis and so those of extraordinary rays (e).
Tangential vibration planes correspond to ordinary rays (O).J=I<?;
Mineral is brought to the 45 position under crossed nigols. The
accessory plate is inserted. If there is an addition and a rise of colour in
the quadrants of the insertion of the plate and a ewe-b subraction and a fall
in the other quadrants the mineral is negative. In a nega*ive mineral
extraordinary ray is fast. In the direction of insertion of the length-fast
accessory plate like vibrations coincides and there is addition of retardation
and henpe increase in colour. In the other two quadrants Unlike vibrations
coincide and hence subrartion of retardation and decrease in colour.
In a positive mineral the extraordinary ray is Blow. In the quadrants
of the insertion of the length, fast accessory plate. Unlike vibrations is
parallel and hence subtraction. In the other quadrants like vibrations is
parallel and hence addition. When a gypsum plate is used blue colour can be
expected in the quadrants of addition and yellow oolour in *fchose of
subtraction. When a mic^plate is used in the quadrants where subtraction
takes place two small dark areas (' dot s' ) develop where there is compen-
sation. When a quartz wedge is used addition results in the increase in the
number of colour bands. So the colour bands appear to move in towards the
centre of the figure in those quadrants of colour increase (ie) where like
vibrations are parallel. In the oth&->- ^UAjijiarofc- the Wrv^s mo^e. away
from the centre.
In the case of an off-centre--uniaxial optic aftis figure the melatop.e is
beyond the visible field. Only one isogyre at one quadrant is seen at a
given position of stage rotation. We must visualize the la tope position and
determine the eptic sign-as through the entire optic axis figure were
In a. flash fj&ure the optic axis 'c' (the e direction) lies in the
quadrants of low bireferingence , and an accessory plate can be used to
reveal whether the extraordinary wave is slow or fast to determine the sign
of the mineral.
Determination of optic sign from biaxial acute Igjseotrix figure :
A biaxial is positive if 2 i the acute bisectrix and negative if 'x' bisects
the VJ angle. Accessory plates are used to determine whether the central
wave &t vibrating in the optic plane is fasti or slow compared to the wave
vibrating parallel to the optic normal X, V.
A) The gypsum plate causes the wave parallel to the optic plane to be slowed
by 550 n?u. It causes retardation between the isogyrtes to subtract for
positive crystals and to add for negative crystals. The mica plate causes the
wave parallel to the pti0 plane to be retarded by 14 7 m/u.
B) Insertion of the quartz wedge causes colour bands to move. In a
negative mineral the increment is towards the centre in the quadrants in
which the wedge lies. In a positive mineral the bands move towards the
centre in the other two quadrants. To determine the optic sign from biaxial
optic-axis figures, the optic-axis figure may be considered as one-half of a
scute bisectrix. The acute bisectrix lies on the convex side of the isogyre.
The same principles described above may be employed in using the
accessory plates. If the isogyre seems to have no curvature in its 45
position the 2V angle is 90 and the crystal is optically neutral.
Determination of the order of interference colour:
C) The mineral under consideration is brought to 45 position under crossed
nicols. The interference colour of the mineral is noticed. The quartz wedge
with its thin pend first is introduced. The interference colour may rise or
fall. If iiie like, vibration directions are parallel the colour rises. If the
unlike vibration directions are parallel the falls. If the colour rises the
stage with the mineral is rotated through 90 and then the quartz wedge is
pushed in further. At a particular thickness of the quartz wedge is exactly
equal to the interference colour of the mineral. The retartation in the mineral
is compensated in the wedge. Therefore gray colour of first order results at
this position of compensation. Then the mineral may he removed. The
wedge is drawn out and colour hands ad counted or the redfyands are
counted the order of' interference colour shown by the mineralis number of
rend bands plus one .Qif n+1).
= Number of

the distance between two successive points in the same phase. Two points
are in the same phase when they are in the same relative position and
direction. The time required for the energy in.transmission to cover one
wave length is the vibration period. The, transverse distance between the
line of propagation and. any of the crests or troughs is the amplitude. The
jlnten sity of light depends upon the amplitude of its vibration. This depends
upon the forces of the "original impulse. The greater the original
displacement the greater the intensity White light is the combination of
several wavelengths of the colours violet, Indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange
and red. Light of a single wavelength is the monochromatic light which
gives the sensation of any of these colours.
The number' of vibrations in a given unit of time is the. freguency, The
frequency of is obtained by dividing the velocity V by the wave length X .
Light wave travel along the direction of -transmission at a speed of about
186, 284 ntiles per second When light waves of like length and intensity
(amplitude) follow same line of propagation and meet in the same phase,
they unite to form a wave of double amplitude. Two sets of waves may be
equal and opposite (iXp^sa difference). When two sets are equal in
phase, wave length and period but differ in amplitude, the resultant will,
have-the same phase and wave length with increased amplitude thus
nullifying each other. Two sets may be equal in amplitude and wavelength
but differ in phase. The resultant wave will have an intermediate crest and.
Increased amplitude.
He termination of Relative ;EI of minerals under a microscope.
33 EI of mineral grains can Ire, determined, under the microscope by the
following methods :X.
1. Liquid immersion method: If a grain, is Immersed in a liquid of known
refractive index it i3 possible to say whether a mineral has a higher or lower
RI than the liquid. The mineral to he studied must he broken down into
uniform small grains and then a few grains are placed upon a glass slide.
A drop of liquid whos RI is known is placed upon the grains and the wholo-
is covered with a cover glass. The condenser below the microscope stage
is lowered and the-sUbstage or is diaphragm is closed.partly. Under these
conditions only a small pencil of parallel r.-^ys enter the section. Such
mineral grains are usually thi;:rw:: at their edges and act as lenses in their
effect upon light. Let figure A represent the mineral grain illuminated
in this way when immersed in'a liquid of higher RI. The light rays as
they;pass from the mineral into the higher refracting liquid are bent away
from the perpendicular. In the opposite case, Fig. B where the mineral
has higher RI than the liquid the rays are bent toward the perpendicular.
Thus in the first case the borders of the mineral grains will be illuminated
brightly and in the II case the centre will be bright. If the mineral and the
liquid have same index of refraction and if the mineral is odorless it loses its
sharpness of outline and disappears. In such cases we can also say the
accurate RI of the mineral grain.
Oblique illumination method;
An oblique pencil of rays may be obtained by placing a pencil or a
cardboard between the re fie cti0n<s-f mirror and the polar iser in. such a
way as to darken one ha if of the field of vision. The best result will be
obtained if the objective has medium power. When a mineral grain is
viewed .under these conditions aoe of its edges is brightly illuminated than
the other. The brighter, edge will be away from the shadow when the
mineral .has lower index of refraction than the liquid and will be toward the
shadow when it has higher RI.
The Be eke Test In-this method the condenser lens beneath the
microscope stage is lowered so that the grains under observation lie above
its focal point. The microscope tube is slowly raised.
A narrow line of light will be moving outward or toward the mineral.
This light band is called Bsckeline" as a general rule the Beako line will
move toward the material of higher RI when, the microscope tube is raised.
The Becke test can be used in a rock section to determine the relative
indices of refraction of two different minerals lyir;g in contact with each
other. The best result is obtained when the contact, plane is vertical. In
the figure given below a cone of light entering from below is focused at
point lying on the dividing plane between L (mineral with lower index) and
H (mineral with higher index). The light rays 1-6 pass from a mineral of
lower index into, one of higher will suffer no total reflection and all emerge
from the section on the side of H. On the other hand, rays 7 to 12
attempting to pasc from H to L will pass only in part across the divid ing
plane while the others will be totally reflected and add themselves to rays 1
to 6 on the side of H. H will therefore show a brighter illumination than i.
Double refraction and construction of niool prism:
When a ray of light enters .an anistropic medium it is split up into two
rays a) ordinary and b) extra or dinary rays. The ordinary ray obeys the laws
of refraction where d& the other do not. The two'rays vibrate' perpendicular
to each other. In the figure given below'abcd
represent a cleavage
rhombohedron of calcite with its edges vertical. let' d' represent a point of
light underneath the rhombohedron. Light coming from/d' is broken ' up into
two rays whose paths are represented by the lines 0 and e. As shown
above these two rays are polarized with vibration directions as indicated.
by. the double arrows in the top view. .. The double refraction-of calcite is
very strong and hence calcite crystals are used for construction transparent
cleavage rhombohedron of calcite, (island spar), is taken. The top. ana
bd^PTdiB^'sur'faces are ground and polished, so that they make angles of
6S^witK the vertical edges.
Then the^BTook is cut into two halves along the diagonal a-f as
shown in fee figure. These two surfaces are polished -and cemented
together by means ofa thin layer of Canada balsam. This device is called a
nicol or nicol prism. A ray of lightd entering from below the nicol is split
up into ordinary and extraordinary rays. The ordinary rayohas higher index
of refraction KojA&e<m the extra ordinary ray and show a greater deviation
from the original path. Since it has higher RI and it meets the surface, of
C-B at an angle greater than the critioa-1 angle it suffers total internal
reflection and is absorbed by the microscope tube. But the V ray has nearly
the same that of G.B and hence it suffers no deviation from the original path
and passes through the C.B and emerges out of the nicol. The light
emerging from the nicol will therefore vibrate^to the e ray.
The combination of two nicols, between which the mineral section can be
examined in polarized light is called a polarise ope . The lower prism which
.polarizes the light received from outside is oalled the polarizer. The upper
one is called the analyser. In modem microscope the nicol prisms are
replaced by polauiflg which are made up of some organic compounds;
particularly the long chain polymers such as crystals of Hera path ite. If the
vibration planes of the polarizer and the analyser are perpendicular to each
other the nicols are said to be crossed and under such conditions nc light
from the polariser can pass through the analyser.
Extinction angle : The mineral sectfon will disappear when it's vibration
direction coincide with the vibration directions of the microscope. This
position is called the extinction position. In anisotropic minerals there will
be e&Lsuch positions for a complete revolution.of the microsoope stage
i.e. through 360. There are three types of extinction.
(a} Parallel or straight extinction
Xb) Inclined or oblique extinction
(c). Symmetrical extinction
The extinction is parallel when the vibration directions are parallel to
the crystallo graphic direction or the cleavage. It is incine.ct when the
vibration directions are inclined to the crystal axes or cleavage. It is
symmetrical when the two vibrations are biseted by a crystal axis or a
Measurement of Extinction angle under the microscope;
Rotate the microscope stage so as to bring the crystal axia or a
cleavage line parallal to any one of the planes of vibration of the microscope
tod insert the analyser. If the mineral section becomes dark it is said to
have ii\e^ Inc^nSn.' If there is still Blight the mineral has inclined
extinction. How rotate the stage again to get the extinction position. The
angle through which the section has been rotated to obtain the extinction
can be measured accurately with the help of the graduated stage which is
attached to a vernier. This angle will be the extinction angle.
In Figure (A) IV represent the polaciser direction of the microscope
and AA' the analyser vibration direction abed represent a mineral section
with it's vibrations inclined to those of the microscope. The light emerging
out of -foe polariser vibrates parallel to PP and enters the mineral
section. There it is resolved .into two rays parallel to e & o i.e. they
vibrate at right angles to each other. In fxgure (B) <e anfi o'
represent the directions anl amplitude of such vibrations which are found
by the application of the parallelogram law of forces, iiach of these
vibration-Jon; entering the analyser will be resolved into two components
aide .parallelfclGhe analyser and the other to the polarizer The former rays
are-represented in Fig.(O) by A and A' and the later rays are by P and ?' .
Since the light vibration parallel to AA' only can emerge out of analyser J
and P' will be cut out by the analyser where as the rays A and A' will
emerge out. The two rays will be having different velocities and nonce they
are in different "phase. The rays emerging out of the analyser with differing
phase will interfere to a greater or leas degree. The interference may
lead to subtraction of sowe wavelengths from white light and thus a
complementary color result which is called the interference or polarization
color. If the phase difference is n>. (Where x is the wave length and n
ia a whole numer) there will be subtraction. If the phase difference for a
particular color the effect will be additive and the intensity of that j
The quartz wedge ia a grafcnctic section of varying thickness and
hence it shows a series of prismatic colors under a micros cope with nicols
crossed. Thsse colours will be prominent with transverse dark bandsV
When the X direction make3 an angle of 45 with the plane of vibration of
the polarizer. The number of the transverse dark bands increases with
length and thickness of the wedge. The first band marks the place where
the fast ray has gained are wavelength oser.the slow ray b and fb marks
the place where'the fast ray has gained two wavelength over the slow and
so' only
Pe term in at ion v of the order of Interference color
Bring the minora! to extinction position. Rotate the section through 45
io as to bring one of its vibrations parallel: to the slow provided above the
an?lyser. Insert the quartz wedge into the slot under those onditions
there are two possibilities. (1)'The optical orientations of the section and
the quartz wedge. may agree, i.e., tho X fast vibration of the mineral
xs.parallel to tho fast vibration of the wedge or these two directions
may be at right angles to each other. If the past ray gains one wave
length over the slow ray the interference color shown is called the.
order^olpr..,-;f ?.^wavelength\;--tt, is.>.sepqnd order and so on.
""Ho'determine" tee
"BtrSer"''6i interference' color a quarts wedge can bo
used. The maximum interference inclined at an angle of 45 to those of the
Quartz wedge:
The quartz wedge consists of a very thin tapering wedge i.e. the
thickness decreases gradually from one end toward the other. The faces of
the wedge are approximately parallel to the prism face of the Q3 crystal. It
is mounted on a narrow glass plate as in figure. The plate is generally
marked with the letter Q (quartz) end an arrow. Thr> arrow is marked either
X (or)a} or z.
(c). If it is marked X tire one of the vibrations of the wedge which ia II*
to the arrow is faster than the other. If it is marked 2 the vibrations into
the arrow is slow*) (if the fast of tiiemineral and the fast of the wedge are
the amount of double 'refraction will be increased and hence the
interference colorwill rise that is the retardation produced by the wedge is
added to the Retardation is produced by the mineral. If this is the K case
turn the microscope stage^thrfqugh 90. Now the fast vihra N tion of the
section a4 of the fast vibration of the wedge will L, be at right angles. The
affect will be to reduce the interference color. When the wedge is introduced
slowly the interference; color decreases gradually and at a certain position
grey color will be produced i.e., the retardation produced by the mineral
section is cancelled by tfoest is produced by the wedge. In other words the
thickness of the wedge of that of the section are same but with reversed
optic orientation. The position is called the compensation position. Nov/ the
mineral section is removed by noting the -succession of colors that occurs
when the wedge is moved out from the slot the order of the original color
can be determined
Optical, accessories':
Optical accessories are used for determining the vibration directions of
a mineral. Che accessories can he classified into three types.
(1) Simple plane parallel plates.
a. J Quarter undulation mica plate (b) Unit retardation plate .
(2) Wedges: (a) Simple Q3 wedge
(3) Compensators; Berek's compensator
Quarter undulation mica plate;
This, is-also called 1/4 Opiate or Glimmer. The mineral Muscovite
is'used for constructing this plate. A clear piece of muscovite is split, into
very thin plates, from such plates rectangular pieces are cut, parallel or at .
right angles to the vibration direction of the slow ray. The plate must have a
thickness of 0.0184 mm. Only this thickness can produce a retardation of 1
/4. The retardation produced by a mica plate has-a value of 147 mu. The
corresponding color is therefore larder grey, When the mica plate is
superposed on the mineral section the interference color produced by the
mineral, is either added or subtracted by 147 mu for eg. a mineral showing
red color Ccolor value 1050 m/i) will be-come blue when the retardation
produced by the plate is added to that is produced by the mineral (105Q +
147 = 1197 inu). When the fast vibration of the plate is W to slow of the
mineral the mineral will change to yellow. (1050-147 mytf = 903 m/i)
Unit retardation plater
It is a mineral plate whose retardation is equal to '567 mu the color
produced by this amount of retardation is the sensitive violet or red of the I
order. Hence the plate is called sensitive tint plate or I order red plate. The
remit retardation plate is usually cut from a gypsum crystal 3 crystal .with
suitable thickness. The plate is mounted in a frame. The arrow marked on
the mstal frame indicates the vibration direction of the slow ray. When. the
unit retardation plate is superposed over a mineral section even a slight
addition or subtraction will change, the violet color an3 hence the name
'Sensitive Tint' is given to this accessory.
In the identification of;minerals In thin section they are examined
under 4 different conditions 1) with ordinary light 2) with plane polarised
light: 3) under crossed Nicol and 4) under conoscopic arrangements.
Nowadays the polarizer is generally meant to be peraanent fixture in the
petrological microscopies. Examinetion under ordinary light (for colour, farm,
clearave, E-lie:?, iu., inclusion and alteration) is now, omitted from the
routina. Only plane polarise.d light is used for the study of above characters
along with pleochrom and thdn winkling.
Colour; The senation of colour depends upon the length of waves of light
which meet the eye. The colour of a mineral depends upon the selective
absorption of light transmitted or reflected by them. It is the result of the
mixture of those waves which are not absorbed. A great number of minerals
quite colourless and transparent. Most of the common rock forming minerals
is either colourless or only very fairly coloured in section. Amongst the
colourless ones are quartz felspars. nepheline, leucite, olivine cordieri.te,
top az, fluorite. (generally) and many other less common minerals.
Very fartly coloured ones include common garnet and auglte.

A few
minerals (generally iron bearing) are strongly absorbent and therefore dark
coloured. Eg. An dradite and others which, follow.
Light passing through (An istropic) doubly refracting minerals is
split into two rays vibrating at right angles to each other. The two rays
suffer different amounts of absorption and therefore give two different
colours when viewed separately. This is shown as a distinct change of colour
when viewed with plane polarised light and rotated on the microscope stage.
This phenomenon is known as pleochroim %
Eiotite: If the vibration direction of the polariser is E&W then the darkest
colour occurs when the cleavage of a vertical sectipn of biotite is in this
direction. The lightest colour occurs when the cleavage is at right angles to
this direction. The phenomenon of pleochrosim obviously supplies us with an
extremely valuable means of distinguishing many minerals with the
polarising microscope. The common pleochroic minerals are:-
1. Hornblende (pale borwn to dark brown, or pale green to dark green)
2. Tourmaline (sometimes pale brown to d&rk brown but with ' .a-very
varying colour range)
3. A egirine (rich yellow to emerald green) 4. Andalusite'(colourless to
an extremely pale pink)
The colour depends very much upon composition and also the orientation of
the mineral in slice. Thus, the same colour range may
not be given by a
mineral (sometimes Biotite-greenish) However relative intensity will not
change. (Eg: In any biotite the vibration direction parallel with
cleavage'always shows a much stronger absorption than the light at right
angles to the cleavage'. The pieochroism and absorption are controlled by
the atomic structure and symmetry of each type of crystal, as are all other
optical properties). Cubic mineral are non-pleochroic and show uniform
absorption in all directions. Certain coloured tetrogonal and hexagonal
(uniaxial) minerals show two colours corresponding to differential absorption
of ordinary and extraord Inary rays. Either of them may be 'the most
absorbed. This difference in the absorption of the colour of the two rays is
known as dichroism. But the basal section of the uniaxial minernls never
shows this- phenomenon. In biaxial crystals there may be three different
degrees of absorption corresi?ending to the 3 different direction of
vibration, x, y and z. They lie at right angles to each other. The crystal
may show distinctly. 3 different colours and in general show pleochrosim.
Eg: Riebeekile X.deep, blue; Y m light blue; Z - yellow green lal order
to determine lie type, of 'p&eochrolc scheme at least; 2 sections must be
obtained containing the directions x,y,z. In certain minerals small circular or
elliptical spots show deeper colour and stronger pieochroism than the
surrounding mineral. These are pleocheoic haloes. They are due to the
ionization effect of the disintegration products of radioactive elements
contained in the inclosed crystal (inclusions), Pleochoic haloes have been
observed in biotite, andalusite, pyroxene, hornblende, tourmaline etc while
the included crystals belong to allanite, rutile , titanite, zircon, apatite, etc.
Some minerals show a striking change of colour others merely a slight
change and still others so feeble that observer falls to notice any change of
shade or colour.
Two rays coming out of the sections of doubly refracting minerals will
have different indicies. One of 1kem may be very nearer to that of
Canada balsom 1.54 caudng low relief and the other far away causing high
relief. A rapid rotation of the stage produces a rapid change of relief.
This is described by the term "twinkling." Calcite is a very good example.
Other minerals with a strong double refraction show the same effect. All
doubly refracting substances ought to show twinkling. However only in a
few cases the change is sufficiently great to be worthy of consideration in
Form; or shape of a mineral grain is elrgely a matter of its history and
origin. It may vary from that of a perfectly developed crystal form
(euhedral) to a completely irregular shape (anhedral). Others of
intermediate shape are subhedral in shape Eg. Apatite - generally well
formed euhedral. Quartz is generally completely anhedral.
Cube showing how sections of various euhedral shapes (3-4 and 6
sided), can be cut from a cube. The euhdral form may be square,
triangular, rectangular, rhombic etc. 2) Cleavage and fracture: Minerals
show a tendency to break in definite'plane Such'olanan'are called cleavage
Calclte splits in 3 directions. The common micas, muscovite ani blotite and
gypsum.cleave perfectly one direction. These cleavages are seen as
parallel straight lines. Pyroxenes and Amphiboles may show 2 sets of
parallel cracks one Bet inter secting the other (basal section). These
cleavages have definite crystallographic orientation.
Basal section of mica shows no cleavage because the cleavage in mica is
parallel to the base. The vertical sections show perfect cleavages. The
vertical sections of amphibole and pyroxenes show a single, set of parallel
cleavages. But the basal section-of pyroxene shows both the sets of
prismatic leavages with a cleavage angle of 90
and 87. The basal section
of the amphiboles shows 2 sets with angles of 124 and 56. The cleavages
are only visible in a section when they are reasonably steeply inclined to the
plane of the section. When they are perpendicular they give very sharply
defined cleavage traces, (distinct or perfect). When they are inclined more
than above 4-5 the cleavage traces become too broad and diffuse to be
any longer visible (e.g. front pinacoid sections of horn blonde shows-no
oleavage (indistinct or imperfect). In some minerals there is no regular
cleavage. Any partings take the form of irreguler fractures. It has
absolutely no cleavage. The cleavage of olivine is imperfect and inconsi-
picuous. But olivine has a very prominent fracture. This is often-
enhanced by serpentinisation and the development of iron ore along thy
3. Alteration inclusion; As olivine is altered to serpentine along cracks,
ortho-close is- often altered into Kaolin asd shows a blurred or smoky
appearance. Air bubbles or particles of foreign substances often occur.as
inclusions within many minerals and these are also clearly displayed under
the microscope.
These properties are of minor importance in the identification of minerals;
in certain cases they are very much helpful. Eg: Andalusite; cross inclusions,
quarts-rutile and gas and liquid inclusions (gas bubbles more heavily
outlined than liquid for other-relations ef phase also the waves are said
interfere forming a new resultant wave. In the Case Q$ ordinary white light
interferenae for certain wavelengths may reeMlt wit the subtraction of the
corresponding colour from the vjhite light and so give rise to the various
spectrum colours. The wave, front (or wave surface) of the light includes all
particles that commence their vibrat^n at the same moment of .time. In
isotropic substances such as air, water or glass the waTe front is spherical as
the light is propagated in all the directions with the same velocity. When
the light gomes from ah indefinitely great distance (as from the sun) the
wave front becomes a plane. txrface and the waves are called plane wayes.
The line drawn from the luminous point to the wave front is known as a
light-ray. In an tfmisotropic substance the wave surface is elliptical. The line
perpendicular to the tangent Lane is called the wage.
Refractive index and surface relief:
The refractive index is the ratio between the sin of angle of inci and sin
of angle of refraction.
Colourless transparent substances are visible only when they differ in optical
intensify (H.I.) from the medium in which they are immensed. The
greater the difference, the consdpcuous will be their borders very commonly
the mineral is a section is immersed in Canada balsam. On examining
the borders (margins) of the minerals we find that some of the edges
stand out consipicuouBly. Such minerals are of high relief. In other
cases borders are inconslpicuous. Such minerals are spoken of as of. low
relief. The mineral surfaces are minutely pitted during the preparation. The
roughness should show up when the EI of the mineral is far removed from
that the CB. (Minerals are in contact with the C.B. also on their upper and
lower surfaces). The effect is known as surface relif. Minerals th
t have
bold outlines also show strong surface relief.
The Baohe test:
When the mineral fragment is slightly out.of focua a bright rim of light either
surrounds cr lies just within the mineral-boundary. The bright line moves
across the boundary. When the tube is raised from a lower to a higher
position, the bright line passes from the medium of lower to that of higher
R.I. conversement is also true. The test is carried out with a high power
1. The lighting and the mirror should be adjusted to give an
absolutely/central illumination.
2. If the-lighting is very bright it will be necessary to close
the diaphram somewhat.
3. If the grain is too large or thick, and its edges are irregular, stray
reflections may give anomalous brightness which behaves contrary to
the Beeche rule.
This test, is only a rapid means of distinguishing minerals.)
The function of lower (polariser) and upper (analyser) nicols is to
plane polarised light. When the"two planes of polarization are correctly
crossed, the light from the polariser is completely stopped by the analyser
and. a complete darkening of the field results.
The insertion of an isotropic, (or singly refracting) mineral between
nicols has no effect. The mineral appears black even when the stage is
rotated. Sections of the cubic minerals and basal sections of Tetragonal
end hexagonal minerals are behaving like this Eg. Garnet, leucite. splrel
In the case, of the anistropic minerals they are extinguished when one
of the vibration d irections of the mineral coincides with that of the polariser.
Extinction takes at intervals of 90 degree, exactly. When this happens
light from the polariser passes through the mineral slice without any
deflection and is completely eliminated at the analyser. In certain cases
when a crystal margin or a cleavage is placed parallel to either of the cross
wires, extinction takes place. This is called straight extinction. In such
cause major vibration directions of the minerals lie parallel to the edge of
cleavage. Eg. Apatite (vertical sections of uniaxial minerals and other 3
majjor pinacoldal and prismatic sections of orthorhombic minerals, .basal
and 100 sections of monoclinic (sections perpendicular to 010) show
straight extinction. In triclinic crystals all sections normally extinct
In other sections extinction occurs when a cleavage or prominent
crystal.edge lies oblique to the crosswires. These sections provide
examples of oblique extinction. An angle measured between cleavage or
edge and the cross wire is known as an extinction angle.

In the case of uniaxial vertical sections and orthorhombic crystals it is only
the sections cut strictly parallel to a crystal axis show straight extinction.
Any degree of random obliquity of the slice will cause oblique extinction.
(In such case cleavage tracestend to loose their sharp definition and 2) the
shapes of the euhedral crystals will, appear distorted and assymmetrical.
Most of the monoclinic sections show fcblique extinction to some degree.
But in the identification of minerals only the maximum angle, ig of value
eg: Hb may range from 0 to 25. (010-25). The extinction which bisects the
angles between prismatic cleavages is called symmetrical.
When an anisotropic mineral section is lying with its two vibration
directions of the crossed polarisers, the section appears coloured. The
colours reach their maximum intensity at 45 positions from those of
extinction. The colours may range from dull grey through shades of yellow
bright orange red, blue and green to watery pinks and very pale greens.
These are the colours of Newtons scale. Gray is referred to as a low order
colour and the pale pink and greens which grade into white, belong to high
order colours there is almost exact repetition of colour sequences in the first
3 orders. But intensity varies in general. the most intense colours of "the
whole scale are those of the second order.
The nature of the interference colours: Interference colours are caused by
the double refraction. The greater the maximum double refraction (i.e.)
the difference between the extreme refractive indicies of a mineral, the
higher is the order of the colour produced. 2) For a given mineral the
colours depend upon the orientation ('$.) vertical section of apatite shows
the highest order colour light gray while basal seotions all isotropic.
Intermediate sections show various darker shades of gray. In the-mineral
description only the highest order colours are referred to Apatite-light grey.
Bunite; III order blue to I order grey.
3) The order of colour depends upon the thickness of the section of grain.
A standard thickness, of about 0.03 has been adopted so that all minerals
may be viewed under similar conditions.
In all the minerals given below except quartz isomorphous substitution
Causes considerable variation in optical properties.

Pal double refraction
order (in
colour and ram
1, Leuc ite 0.001 Bark grey First order
2. Nepheline 0.004 Grey it
3. Apatite . 0.005 Grey i
4. Orthoclas
0.007 Light grey . ii
5. Quartz 0.009 Yellowish white' "
6. Hornbelen
0.020 Purple Second
7- Aug ite 0.025 Green
8. Olivine 0.038 Blue Third
9. Muscovite 0.038 Blue it
10. Blotite 0.045 Yellowish green "
11. Sphene 0.140 Near white fifth .
12. Caleite 0.169 Near white sixth

A gently tapered, slender wedge is cut from a single quartz-crystal and
polished. The length of the wedge being at 45 degree, it is inserted. Colour
bands appear. Colours start with black where the thickness of the wedge is
zero and end up with any-ching 4th to 7th order colours according to the
maximum thickness of the wedge. This demonstrates well the effect of
variable thickness the interference colours.
. Sometimes the interference colours are almost unrecognizable through the
masking effect of the body colour.
e.g. 1. Biotite - dark brown-obscures the high order interference colours. 2.
Sphene - golden brown or grey brown obscnrures the
,high order pale. colours.
Formation of In. colours and colour chart:
Fundamentally interference colours are produced because one ray emerging
from a mineral slice is retarded behind its faster counterpart.
R = t (x^HBg)
R = amount of retardation, t thickness n
and n
= .refractive indices.
Retardation is expressed in millionths of a millimeter,
It is sometimes referred to as the colour value because each
The graphical representation of the above equation is given in the
form of a colour chart. This can be used to 1) estimate the thickness, of
a sec tier, containing quartz, which shows pale yellow as its Mghost order
colour 2) from that to estimate the birferingence of en unknown mineral
1): From the chart, R (retardation) for pale yellow colour can be estimated.
Lb is cclour value 270. 2) The maximum double refraction (n.j-n
) of-
quartz is known to be 0*009 (Because quartz and a very uniform
composition, this value is fixed and provides one of the most useful
standards in crystal optics. Deriving the thickness of section by ealoulation
we have:-
270= t x 0.009 - ; . .'. t = 30,000 uu (i .e.) 0.03mm.
The same result can be obtained from the chart by running the eye down the
vertical line corresponding to a colour Value of 270 until it intersects the
sloping line corresponding with a bir ferriage nee of 0.009. The
intersection occurs on the horizontal line indicating the thickness of
2) Let us suppose that the unknown mineral yields maximum interference
colours of third order blue. This colour corresponds to a'colour value
approximately 1150. (Thickness is known 0.03mm). 1150 = 30,000 (n.,-
= .036 = Bireferingence
Prom the chart a Value of 0.035 can be obtained by tracing the appropriate
line of bireferingence from the point where the lines of thickness and colour
value intersect, diagonally upto the top of the diagram. In the chart
1. Vertical lines point to colour value (and interference colour)
2. horizontal lines point to thickness of the section
3. oblique lines point to Bireferengence
If anjr. 2 of these are known, third can be very easily obtained.
Twinning: The "twinned mineral graind show sharply divided areas of
contrasted in difference colours between crossed nicols these areas have
different extinction positions. frequently repeated twinning in several
directions - optical a^amoly. Twinning is particularly useful in distinguishing
the various kinds of, felspar.
Qrthoclase: if present - 2 halves show different tones of grey interference
position simple type.
Plagioclase: Multiple lamellar twinning alternating lamellae appear in-
contrasting shades of grey or of black when one set is in. extinction.
Microcline: Same as plagioclase - but lamellae are usually more slender and
are generally spindle shaped. Further two sets intersect at 90 degree
approximately giving a cross-hatched effect. Pyroxenes and amphiboles also
frequently display twinned.) Examination of mineral under oonoscopio
The petrography microscope with crossed lower and upper nicols may be
converted into conoscope by
1. Using a medium or higher power objective.
2. Indenting below the stage a small hemipherical converging lens and
3. Removing the eyepice or inserting the Bertrand lens into the
microscope tube below the eyepice.
JSvery section, of a doubly refracting mineral produces some kind of figure
with convergent light. The clarity of the figure can be improved by making
slight adjustments to the diphram beneath the stage and also to the
focusing. The figure consists of colour bands and black or shadowing
/Uniaxial interference figure: When a basal section of a uniaxial mineral
is examined under conscopic conditions the light passes through the optic
axis direction without interference. At the point of emergence of the optic
axis a, dark spot appears and it is called a melatope. This cross remains
stationary as the stage is "rotated. Its centre falls at the centre of the
microscope field.
In all other places the rays pass, at some angles with optic axis. There
double refraction and Interference produce interference colours. Such
colours occur in the form of circular bands around the optic axles as the
light entering in convergent. Interference colours rise to the margin of the
figure. This interference figure
In all other sections the emergence of the optic oxis will not be at the
centre of the microscope field and they will show offcsntred optic axis
interference figures.
In the isogyre segra.
t cf -ftils figure 1fce end nearest to the
melatope no^s in fefae direction of the turn of the crystal and is called
homoAvemie end (homc'drome-same course or path). The other end
moves opposite to the crystal rotationand is calied antidrcme '(ooposite
path)-end. The melatope or the position of the optic axis outside the
field of view is always locked in that quadrant which contains the
homodrome end of any visible portions of an isogyre. If segments of
circular colour curves are present in the field the melatope will be located in
the quadrant containing the centre for these circles. There is a fall in the
colour scale towards this centre.
When the optic axis is parallel or nearly parallel to the plane of the
microscope a flash-figure is produced. Upon turning the crystal only a
degree or so from the extinction position. The differse cross isogyre is
rapidly resolved into hyperbalic isogyres. These hyperbolic isogyres leave
the field of view within the quadrants containing the optic axis.
Biaxial interference figures; The section cut at right angles to the acute
bisectix of a mineral produces, an acut bisectix figure can either side of the
acute bisectix there is ope optic axis in the direction of the optic axes double
refraction and interference do not take place. So at the points of
emergence of the optic axes two dark spots appears. They are called,
eyes or melatopes. Around each of these optic axis interference colour rings
are produced. When the. vibration d irections of the mineral are parallel to
those of 1he nicols two darks bars appear as a cross along with the colour
rings. Then brushes are the isogyres. The thinner bar of the cros
coniciders with the trace of the optic plane. The thicker bar marks the frace
of the optic normal. On rotating the stags the cross resolves into hyper
balae. Their poles are the points of emergence of the optic axes in the
45 position.
The smaller the optic axial angle the nearer together are the points, of'
emergence of" the optic axes. The isogyres always have their convex
sides turned towards the acute bisectrix. Sections cut at right angles to an
optic axis show an opticaxis centred biaxial figure. This figure consists of
nearly circular concentric carves crossed by a single dark bar. The Bingle
dark bar is straight whenever it is parallel to the planes of vibration of the
nicols. Uoon rotating the stage its convex side toward the acute bisectrix.
The smaller the optic axial angle the greater the curvature. If the acute
bisectrix emerges within, the field across will be found within the field. The
thinner single bar generally moves opposite to the crystal rotation, to
become p hyperbola. In- the case of thj escvion cut a right angle to the
obtuse bisectrix the figure resembles the acute bisectrix figure. But the
melatope do not appear in the field of view. Other section show more and
more of one melatope and less of the other as the section is more and more
inclined to the bisectrices
Dispersion primarily means the scattering or separation along different paths
of the component colgurs of white light unequal refraction at any surface. All
substances have unequal indices for different parts of the spectrum. This,
results in the variation in the optic angle and hence the optic axes and
bisectrices. Therefore in. a wider sense, dispersion means the variation in
value or in position of the optical constants for different colours of the
spectrum. Isometric crystals have only one type of dispersion nmely
dispersion of the index of refraction. The difference between the index in
violet and the index in red light is a measure of the dispersion. For
example, Uniaxial crystals have dispersion of both indices of refraction.
Therefore referingenee varies for different colours.