Element map, Autophase results and
BSE micrograph of a serpeninite sample
The images show a serpentinite sample of subcontinental mantle origin from the Ancient Tethys, now exposed in the Totalp imbricate near Davos, Switzerland mapped with a QUANTAX EDS system. The image on the upper right side is a composite element map of Mg (green), Fe (red), Ca (dark blue) and Ni (light blue) with overlaid back-scattered electron (BSE) image. The image on the lower right side shows the BSE image unmodified. The image on the left is a phase image, where areas of similar chemical composition were made visible by Autophase, a software option for the QUANTAX ESPRIT software suite. Such phase images are useful to study the distribution and modal abundances of different minerals, as well as their element composition.
Serpentinite rocks, such as the one shown here, are of special interest for the mining industry, specifically due to the presence of Ni. Nickeliferous laterite deposits can form from the weathering of serpentinites and other ultramafic material.
The element Ni is used in many industrial and consumer products, such as stainless steel and rechargeable batteries. Lateritic Ni deposits comprise 73% of the continental world Ni resources and in the future they will be the dominant source for the mining of Ni.
Sample courtesy of Emily H. Goldstein, University of Texas at Austin.