A Resource for Educators and Students
 
 

Properties and Features Seen in Thin Section

 Seen with plane polarized light (PP)
Opaque, Isotropic and Anisotropic Minerals
Color and Pleochroism
Relief
Bubbles
Cleavage

 Seen with cross-polarized light (XP)
Birefringence and Interference colors
Twinning
Exsolution
Pleochroic Halos

Mineral Photographs
For brief descriptions and some photographs, click on the mineral of interest below:

 Quartz and Feldspars Micas and Chlorite Mafic Minerals Pelitic Metamorphic Minerals Calcite and Minerals Associated with Marbles
  quartz   biotite   clinopyroxene   kyanite   calcite and dolomite
  plagioclase   muscovite   sodic pyroxene   andalusite   tremolite
  K-spar   chlorite   orthopyroxene   sillimanite   talc
      hornblende & actinolite   staurolite   wollastonite
 Generally Accessory Minerals     sodic amphibole   garnet   diopside
  epidote     olivine   cordierite  
  sphene     serpentine   chloritoid  
  rutile     spinel    
  graphite        

Note: Unless otherwise noted, the thin section photos come in pairs with a plane-polarized view on the left (PP), and a cross-polarized view on the right (XP).