To analyse

Water, clay, sand, gravel, limestone, marble, sandstone, granite or gneiss – only the exact determination of material composition (geochemistry) permits the interpretation in terms of formation, origin or usage.

Clear plastic bags with rock samples.
Different scientific questions necessitate specific treatments of samples.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber
A woman holding a long strip of paper on which are colorful curves.
Measurements of the X-ray diffractometer are visualised in charts and interpreted in terms of clay mineral association.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber
A man in white working clothes working with transparent containers in a bright room.
In the Cleaning Laboratory.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber
Stone blocks lie in a shallow wooden box.
Production of thin sections of rocks.
© Geological Survey of Austria / Lois Lammerhuber

Well documented sampling and specimen preparation precede any chemical analysis. The first steps of preparation include cutting stones with diamond blades, crushing samples using a jaw crusher or washing clay and marl.

Thin section analysis, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy are some of the analytical techniques used routinely at Geological Survey of Austria to determine the rock or mineral composition of a sample both qualitatively and quantitatively. Accuracy is the top priority in this process, not only in the Cleaning Laboratory, where mineral concentrates are chemically treated before measuring their absolute age.

Analysis and expert knowledge for the interpretation of collected data are housed under the same roof at Geological Survey of Austria. This constellation accommodates the necessary holistic approach to geoscientific problems.