The use of microanalytical techniques to better understand mineralization has become more widespread as laboratory equipment capable of discrete analysis has evolved. It is now possible to map elemental distribution in geological samples in the field using a hand held analyzer, namely the SciAps Z300 hand held LIBS analyser. While hand held and portable X-Ray Florescence [XRF] analysers can be used effectively to measure many pathfinder and major element in the field LIBS offers complimentary and unique capabilities to enhance conventional field geochemical investigations and presents new opportunities. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy or LIBS is a form of Atomic Emission Spectroscopy [AES] that can produce a comprehensive spectral data set that allows all elements to be represented between 200-900nm especially light elements not analyzed by pXRF (H-Na). This powerful and spatially precise analytical technique is ideally suited to the analysis of specific minerals and areas of interest on drill core or chips. With the use of rastering element maps can be generated showing the distribution of different elements and individual points within a sample can be understood in context.SciAps handheld LIBS analyzers present opportunities to generate in field data sets that can be used to understand the distribution of elements with a high degree of spatial precision using a 50um laser spot and in-built X-Y stage that allows rastering. At SciAps we are dedicated to progressing the capabilities and application of LIBS and proud and excited to be involved in mineralogy research. Recently Chris Lawley from Geological Survey of Canada and Jordan Watts, Joel Gagnon, and Steven Rehse from the University of Windsor, Ontario went into the field with our Z300 and generated some exciting data in the field that demonstrates an excellent correlation between visible gold and element maps of gold generated using the Z300. Whether looking to understand the distribution of gold, it's pathfinder elements or even mineralogy, the Z300 generates data that can be used effectively in the field to identify mineralization.
Click to Enlarge Image - LIBS mapping of coarse visible gold, quartz and chlorite. All three of gold's main emission wavelengths (242.9, 267.5, and 312.6 nm) show a similar distribution that correspond well with the outline of visible gold. Pixels are color coded (decile scaling) to relative intensity (%). Mapping visible gold from different ore styles may provide a distinct geochemical fingerprint to improve source to ore models.
Here's Your Gold
Contact us at SciAps if you have any questions about how you can access our ground breaking Z300 handheld LIBS analyzer and harness the new opportunities that these analyzers allow. Come past booth #45 at the SEG conference in Keystone, CO from 21-25th of September and speak to Andrew Somers and Ryan Clair or attend the pre-conference workshop on Friday the 20th of September where Andrew Somers will be presenting alongside a range of industry experts on the application of LIBS to in field mineral chemistry:WS04 - Mineral Vectoring in Hydrothermal Ore Deposits: A Multi-scale Approach http://www.seg2018.org/workshops.html#4