Preliminary assessment of the use of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) in conodonts





Alberto Pérez-Huerta [ ] Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa AL 35487, USA; Maggie Cusack [] School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ Glasgow, UK; Carlos A. Méndez [] Departamento de Geología, Campus de Llamaquique, Universidad de Oviedo, 33005 Oviedo, Spain; manuscript received on 06/11/2010; manuscript accepted on 15/4/2011.


Pérez-Huerta, A., Cusack, M. & Méndez, C.A. 2011: Preliminary assessment of the use of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) in conodonts. Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 253–258.

Conodonts are extensively used as ‘geochemical tools’ in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions in Palaeozoic and Triassic strata. The retention of a primary geochemical signal is substantially dependent on the ultrastructural integrity and crystallinity after diagenesis. Direct assessments of the preservation potential of the polycrystalline matrix are scarce with the exception of the application of transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The possible application of electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) is introduced for well-preserved Pennsylvanian platform conodont elements as a novel in situ technique based on successful previous results for biogenic carbonates. EBSD shows the presence of no diffraction in central regions of all studied elements of Idiognathodus and Adetognathus, with possible implications for geochemistry analysis. The absence of diffraction could be attributed to the existence of an amorphous phase, water (+OH) or a process of hypocalcification related to the development of ‘growth cavities’ in the lamellar crown tissue. Overall results indicate the suitability of using EBSD to extract crystallographic information from conodonts and potentially for other apatite (micro-) fossils. □Conodont, diagenesis, EBSD, geochemistry, Pennsylvanian.