Clastic Particles: Scanning Electron Microscopy and Shape Analysis of Sedimentary and Volcanic Clasts



A hot research topic in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) study of quartz grain textures and structures as a way of determining the transport mode and depositional environment of deposits in which they were found. An atlas by Krinsley and Doornkamp [1973] can be characterized as a culmination in quartz grain research, and the atlas by Heiken [1974] is a pioneering work on pyroclastic particles. However, interest in the field declined in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and for whatever reason (perhaps cost and nonportability of the equipment), the SEM technique never reached its full potential. Now, however, in concert with interest in other techniques (such as Fourier analysis), interest in particle analysis is increasing, largely because of the method's emerging success in volcanology. In the 1980s, SEM equipment is more readily available, a n d computerization helps reduce analysis time. The book Clastic Particles could be the catalyst to reignite the fire beneath the subject on a much broader front than in the 1970s.