Description: Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) have been used for in situ analysis of minerals in peats by combining methods for producing oriented microtome sections of peat with methods for critical point drying. The combined technique allows SEM analysis of the inorganic components and their associated botanical constituents, along with petrographic identification of the botanical constituents. In peat deposits with abundant fluvial- or marine-derived minerals, one may use the above technique and/or medium- or low-temperature ashing followed by x-ray diffraction to readily identify the various mineral components. However, in some freshwater environments the scarcity of non-silica minerals makes the above techniques impractical. By separating the inorganic residues from the peat, one can isolate the non-silica mineral matter in the SEM for analysis by EDS. Furthermore, such separation allows SEM analysis of features and textures of both silica and non-silica mineral particles that might otherwise be unidentifiable. Results indicate the occurrence of detritial minerals in both Okefenokee and Snuggedy Swamp peats, the presence of authigenic or diagenetic minerals growing within peats, and dissolution features on freshwater sponge spicules that may account for the absence of spicules in Tertiary lignites.
Date: January 1, 1983
Creator: Raymond, R. Jr.; Andrejko, M.J. & Bardin, S.W.
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