Scanning electron microscope studies of weathered rocks: A review of nomenclature and methods

  • Baynes F. J. 
  • Dearman W. R. 


The scanning electron microscope has been used to supplement microfabric studies of various grades of weathered rocks, with a view to relating fabric to engineering properties. Requirements for sampling, sample preparation, observational techniques and fabric nomenclature are reviewed as an introduction to S.E.M. studies of weathered granites and other lithological types.


Clay Clay Particle Engineering Property Dolomitization Weathered Rock 

Etude De Roches Altérées Au Microscope Électronique Á Balayage: Une Revue De La Nomenclature Et Des Méthodes


On a utilisé le microscope électronique à balayage en complément des études de la microstructure de roches altérées à divers degrés, dans le but de mettre en relation la structure et les propriétés géotechniques. Les principes d’échantillonnage, la préparation des échantillons, les techniques d’observation et la nomenclature des structures sont passées en revue, ce qui constitue une introduction à l’étude au M.E.B. des granites altérés et de divers autres types lithologiques.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. AL-HASHIMI W.S. (1972): A study of dolomitization by scanning electron microscopy. Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc. 38, 593–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. BARDEN L. (1972a): The influence of structure on deformation and failure in clay soils. Geotechnique, 22, 159–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BARDEN L. (1972b): The relation of soil structure to the engineering geology of the clay soil. Q. Jl. Engng. Geol. 5, 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BARDEN L. — SIDES G.R. (1970): Engineering behaviour and structure of compacted clay. J. Soil Mech. Fdns Div. Am. Soc. Civ. Engrs. 96, 1171–1200.Google Scholar
  5. BARDEN L. — SIDES G.R. (1971a): The influence of weathering on the microstructure of Keuper Marl. Q. Jl. Engng. Geol. 3, 259–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. BARDEN L. — SIDES G.R. (1971b): Sample disturbance in the investigation of clay structures. Geotechnique, 21, 211–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. BERNER R.A. — HOLDREN G.R. Jr. (1977): Mechanism of feldspar weathering; some observational evidence. Geology, 5, 369–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. BORST R.L. — KELLER W.D. (1969): Scanning electron micrographs of A.P.I. reference clay minerals and other selected samples. Int. Clay Conf. Tokyo, 1, 871–902.Google Scholar
  9. BRACE W.F. (1965): Relation of elastic properties of rocks to fabric. J. Geophys. Res., 70, 5657–5667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. BRACE W.F. — SILVER E. — HADLEY K. — GOETZE C. (1972): Cracks and pores, a closer look. Science, 1978, 162–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. BREWER R. (1964): Fabric and mineral analysis of soils. New York, John Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. CATT J.A. — ROBINSON P.C. (1961): The preparation of thin sections of clay. Geol. Mag., 98, 511–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. COLLINS K. — McGOWN A. (1974): The form and function of microfabric features in a variety of natural soils. Geotechnique, 24, 223–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DEARMAN W.R. — IRFAN T.Y. (1978) : Assessment of the degree of weathering in granite using petrographic and physical index tests. Proc. Colloque International UNESCO-RILEM, Altération et Protection des Monuments en Pierre, Paris, 2, 3, 35 pp.Google Scholar
  15. DIXON H.W. (1969) : Decomposition products of rock substances. Proposed engineering geological classification. Rock Mech. Symp. Stephen Roberts Theatre, Univ. Sidney, 39–44.Google Scholar
  16. FIN’KO V.I. — SAMOTOIN N.D. — CHEKIN S.S. (1972): Transformation of microline into kaolin during weathering. Akad. Nauk. SSSR. Izv., ser. Geol., 7, 108–119 (In Russian).Google Scholar
  17. GILLOT J.E. (1969): Study of the fabric of fine grained sediments with the scanning electron microscope. J. Sedim. Petrol., 39, 90–105.Google Scholar
  18. GILLOT J.E. (1970a): Examination of rock surfaces with the scanning electron microscope. J. Microscopy, 91, 203–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. GILLOT J.E. (1970b): Fabric of Leda clay investigated by optical, electron optical and X-ray diffraction methods. Eng. Geol., 4, 133–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. GILLOT J.E. (1975): Relationship between origin and micro-structure of rocks and soils to engineering behaviour. Bull. Int. Ass. Eng. Geol., 11, 77–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. GIPSON M. (1965): Application of the electron microscope to the study of particle orientation and fissility in shale. J. Sedim. Petrol., 35, 408–414.Google Scholar
  22. GRABOWSKA-OLSZEWSKA B. (1975): S.E.M. analysis of microstructures of loess deposits. Bull. Int. Ass. Eng. Geol., 11, 45–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. HILLEFORS A. (1970): Deep weathered rock material and sand grains under the scanning electron microscope: a preliminary report. Sv. Geogr. Arsb., 46, 138–164.Google Scholar
  24. IRFAN T.Y. — DEARMAN W.R. (1978): Engineering petrography of a weathered granite in Cornwall, England. Q. Jl. Engng. Geol., 11, 233–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. KELLER W.D. — HANSON R.F. (1975): Dissimilar fabrics by scan electron microscopy of sedimentary versus hydrothermal kaolins in Mexico. Clays and Clay Mins., 23, 201–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. KRINSLEY D.H. — DOORNKAMP J.C. (1973) : Atlas of quartz sand surface textures. Cambridge Earth Science Series, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. LAHODNY-ŠARC O. — BOHOR B.F. — STANEK J. — HULINSKY V. (1972) : Electron microprobe and scanning electron microscope study of bauxites. Proc. Int. Clay Conf., Madrid, 781–784.Google Scholar
  28. LOHNES R.A. — DEMIREL T. (1973): Strength and structure of laterites and lateritic soils. Engng. Geol., 7, 13–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. MATSUO S. — SAWA K. (1975): Studies of the crushability of decomposed granite soil grains. Bull. Int. Ass. Eng. Geol., 11, 71–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McCHONNACHIE I. (1974): Fabric changes in consolidated kaolin. Geotechnique, 24, 207–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. MELLO MENDES F. — AIRES BARROS L. — PERES RODRIGUES F. (1966) : The use of modal analysis in the mechanical characterization of rock masses. 1st Int. Conf. Rock Mechs., Lisbon, 1, 217–223.Google Scholar
  32. MONTGOMERY C.W. — BRACE W.F. (1975): Micropores in Plagioclase. Contrib. to Mineral. Petrol., 52, 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. NEVILLE G. (1974) : A study of the mechanism of polishing of roadstones by traffic. Dept. of Env., TRRL Laboratory Report LR 621.Google Scholar
  34. O’BRIEN N.R. (1970): The fabric of shale, an electron microscope study. Sedimentology, 15, 229–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. ŠAMALIKOVA M. (1974) : Constructive weathering of granite on the dam profile near Liberec, Czechoslovakia. Proc. 2nd Int. Cong. Int. Ass. Eng. Geol., São Paulo, Brazil, I. IV-8-1.Google Scholar
  36. SIDES G.R. — BARDEN L. (1971): The microstructure of dispersed and flocculated samples of kaolinite, illite and montmorillonite. Can. Geot. J., 8, 391–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. SMART P. (1966) : Soil structure, mechanical properties and electron microscopy. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cambridge, (unpublished).Google Scholar
  38. SMART P. (1973): Structure of red clay soil from Nyeri, Kenya. Q. Jl. Engng. Geol. 6, 129–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. SOWERS G.F. (1963) : Engineering properties of residual soils derived from igneous and metamorphic rocks. Proc. 2nd Panam. Cong. Soil Mech. Found. Engr., Brazil, 1, 39–61.Google Scholar
  40. SPRUNT E. — BRACE W.F. (1974) : Direct observation of microcavities in crystalline rocks. Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci. & Geomech. Abstr.,, 11, 139–150.Google Scholar
  41. STIMPSON B. — METCALFE R.G. — WALTON G. (1970) : A new technique for sealing and packing rock and soil samples. Imp. Coll. Rock Mechanics Research Report No. D. 17.Google Scholar
  42. TAPPONNIER P. — BRACE W.F. (1976) : Development of stress induced microcracks in Westerly granite. Int. J. Rock Mech. Min. Sci. & Geomech. Abstr., 13, 103–112.Google Scholar
  43. TOVEY N.K. (1970) : Electron microscopy of clays. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
  44. TOVEY N.K. — YAN W.K. (1973) : The preparation of soils and other geological materials for the S.E.M. Int. Symp. on soil structure. Gothenburg. Swedish Geotech. Soc., Stockholm, 60–68.Google Scholar
  45. TUBEY L.W. — HOSKING J.R. (1972) : Synthetic aggregates of high resistance to polishing: Part 2 — corundum-rich aggregates. Dept. of Env. TRRL Report LR 467.Google Scholar
  46. VAN OLPHEN H. (1963): An introduction to soil colloid chemistry. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  47. VARGAS M. (1953) : Correlation between angle of internal friction and angle of shearing resistance in consolidated quick triaxial compression tests on residual clays. Proc. Int. Conf. Soil Mech. Found. Eng. 3rd. Zurich, 1, 72–75.Google Scholar
  48. WALLACE K.B. (1973) : Structural behaviour of residual soils of the continually wet Highlands of Papua, New Guinea. Geotechnique, 23, 203–218.Google Scholar
  49. WAUGH B. (1965): A preliminary electron microscope study of the development of authigenic silica in the Penrith Sandstone. Proc. Yorks. Geol. Soc., 35, 59–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. WILLIAMS H. — TURNER F.J. — GILBERT C.M. (1954): Petrography. An introduction to rocks in thin sections. Bailey & Swinfen, London.Google Scholar
  51. WONG K.Y. — TOVEY N.K. (1975): A new specimen preparation technique for the electron microscope. Geotechnique, 25, 142–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. YONG R.N. (1971): Soil technology and stabilization. General Report to Session 5, 4th Asian Reg. Conf. Soil Mech. Found. Engng., 2, 111–124.Google Scholar
  53. YONG R.N. (1972) : Some aspects of soil fabric and structure in soil mechanics. In: Microfabrics of soil and sedimentary deposits. Proc. Symp. held at Guelph, Ontario, 111–158.Google Scholar
  54. YONG R.N. — SHEERAN D.E. (1973) : Fabric unit interaction and soil behaviour. Proc. Int. Symp. Soil Structure, Gothen burg. 176–183.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Assocaition of Engineering eology 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Baynes F. J. 
    • 1
  • Dearman W. R. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Engineering Geology Unit, Department of GeologyUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneUK

Personalised recommendations