A technique for preparing high water content clayey sediments for thin and ultrathin section study



ABSTRACT The study of sediment microfabric is fundamental to the understanding of various sediment properties including shear strength, compressibility, and permeability, evaluating depositional environments and investigating clay diagenesis. A technique is presented which preserves the particle integrity of fine-grained sediments while permitting examination of the same sample using light and electron microscopy techniques. The technique involves drying the sediment sample using a critical point drying apparatus and then impregnating it using low viscosity SPURR epoxy. Standard thin sectioning techniques are used for light microscopy, whereas ultrathin sections are made using a microtome for transmission electron microscopy work. Scanning electron microscopy investigations are performed on samples prior to impregnating.