Scanning Thin Sections

The Nikon Coolscan 5000 & 9000 slide scanners each enable rapid and easy acquisition of a high-resolution image of an entire thin section in transmitted light. Both cross-polarized and non-polarized images can be obtained for the same thin section. We are using high extinction 38% neutral grey linear polarizer films (AP38-006T) for our cross-polarized images.

Note: very useful video of how to measure selected areas in photoshop:  “Using Photoshop to measure areas in a histological section


  • teaching: capture the features of interest in a thin section to exhibit to a class or student;
  • mapping for microanalysis: locate your points for reference during: electron probe microanalysis, or laser-ablation inductive-coupled-plasma mass-spectrometry, or secondary-ion mass-spectrometry;
  • publication: for presentations, posters, manuscripts, or books.

The thin sections are scanned at 4000 dpi (optical resolution). This will provide sufficient resolution to print the image of a thin section (1.5 x 1.0 inches or 3.8 x 2.5 cm) on a sheet of paper with dimensions of 12 x 18 inches.

non-polarized crossed polarizers
Dolostone – Tyndall stone – dolomitized burrows, calcite dyed red

download (30.32 MB)

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Sandstone – Arkosic wacke
Colorado Springs, Colorado

download (34.21 MB)

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Limestone – Grainstone, Great Barrier Reef, Australia:
red algae, gastropods, bivalves, echinoids, etc.

download (25.15 MB)

download (24.92 MB)
Harzburgite – Sheared garnet harzburgite
Kimberley, South Africa

download (31.65 MB)

download (29.6 MB)
Kimberlite – Tuffisitic kimberlite breccia
Kimberley, South Africa
Two generations of olivine in perovskite-rich matrix that is highly altered

download (30.4 MB)

download (25.91 MB)
Sandstone – Quartz arenite
Frontenac County, Ontario

download (31.29 MB)

download (21.49 MB)
Marble – with Tremolite vein
Pilot Bay, British Columbia

download (32.24 MB)

download (27.06 MB)
Granitoid – Porphyritic granodiorite
Nelson Batholith, British Columbia

download (30.86 MB)

download (24.34 MB)
Schist – Andalusite biotite schist

download (29.97 MB)

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Komatiite – Spinifex texture
Munro Township, Ontario

download (28.47 MB)

download (26 MB)