The microscope team’s main task is to support the basic mapping projects performed by the Regional Geological Unit of the General Geology Department. Furthermore, to collaborate with the performing of certain Geo-heritage and Mineral Resources Units of the Applied Geology Department and the Geochemical Unit of the General Geology Department.
The Microscope Room ensures the appropriate identification of the rocks-samples collected by the SERNAGEOMIN different work teams; hence, it is a meeting point for many geologists and geologist degree candidates that work in the institution. Things are commonly learned there, cooperation with other projects is carried out, doubts are resolved, all in an activity performed individually and/or in groups, creating discussion instances about the microscopes results. This also allows us to level out the professional’s knowledge and maintain continuous and mutual improvement in this geology field.
Support consists of performing microscopic tests and stereo microscopic observations of the rock or loose grain samples, recognizing minerals, textural relationships between them, and mainly presence and separation of the microfossils. In that way a research of rock classification is achieved, defining their alteration, mineralization, and evaluating features that allow us to decide on its petrogenesis and often determining units.
Microscopic studies include petrographic descriptions, carried out on rock thin sections, essentially registering the minerals from which they are made of, its provision and alterations, and chalcography analysis made from polished rock sections, examining the same characteristics on the opaque minerals. The two types of research can be performed on briquettes in the case of loose grain samples. Besides, in both cases point counting can be done to specify the amounts of the different minerals.
The Microscope Room has the following equipment:
- Five (5) polarized light microscopes
- Two (2) stereo microscope (magnifying glass)
- One (1) digital point counter
- One (1) specialized mini library
The five polarized light microscopes are all Olympus Serie BX (4) and BH (1) brand. They work with transmitted and incident light. They have trinocular observation tubes, thus they have a digital camera and an annexed computer. All have orthoscopic and conoscopic vision; Köhler halogen lighting, that allow for an even light distribution on the sample; a vertical illuminator to use with reflected light; and a thick and thin coaxial manageable approach. The four microscopes of the BX series have infinity corrected optics, meaning, light travels in parallels rays after passing through the objective. They have an optic system UIS2 that minimizes the infinite correction advantages and produces an excellent flatness of the field and establish a high precision and clarity standard of the images because they present an optimal compensation of the optic derivations. Furthermore, these microscopes exhibit a great observation range (FN22).
The two magnifying glasse are Olympus brand Serie SZ. They are stereo microscopes since they provide a three-dimension image. Through two lens they provide two images (one for each eye) with a different angle. Subsequently, the human brain combines the two images to generate a three dimension one with a more profound vision. The type of objective used is an optical zoom with a magnifying range that varies continuously between 6.7X and 45X (with 10X ocular). They have a Greenough optical system with a 10° angle towards the inside that favors the proper combination between flatness and depth range for 3D images. Another characteristic of these stereo microscopes is the quick deleting of static electricity, thanks to their antistatic materials and coatings. Finally, a remarkable advantage is the ease of the sample handling while they are being observed under the magnifying glass.
The digital point counter is fully automatic. It has great precision and provides a quantitative analysis that improves the sample descriptions. It is part of the "Digital Point Counter System", also integrated by an Olympus polarized light microscope, BX Serie, BX51 model; with a Qlmaging digital camera, Micropublisher 3.3 RTV model, "Q Capture Pro7" program, and a computer. The counter moves a lamella located in the automatic platen, in the axis X and Y direction and under the "PetrogLite, 126.96.36.199 (32 Bit) version” software control. The Stepper is designed for a specific microscope platen; the locating pings and the safety screw are set for a hole combination unique for each platen; and the counter's control box connects to a computer through a USB cable.
The mini library created for the Microscope Room gathers books in digital and paper format from different rock materials, with a microscope studies approach.