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Authors: Voltolini, M.* 
Zandomeneghi, D.* 
Mancini, L.* 
Polacci, M.* 
Title: Texture analysis of volcanic rock samples: Quantitative study of crystals and vesicles shape preferred orientation from X-ray microtomography data
Issue Date: 30-Apr-2011
Series/Report no.: 1-2/202(2011)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2011.02.003
Keywords: X-ray computed microtomography
preferred orientation
texture analysis
volcanic scoria
synchrotron X-rays
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.05. Volcanic rocks 
04. Solid Earth::04.08. Volcanology::04.08.07. Instruments and techniques 
Abstract: In the texture analysis of volcanic rocks, the preferred orientation of the constituents can provide useful information for the interpretation of the processes involved in the rock formation. We present here a new data analysis technique, based on X-ray microtomography measurements and on shape preferred orientation analysis, to obtain the orientation distribution functions of the constituents of volcanic rocks. This procedure proved to be very suitable for volcanic samples, where diffraction-based techniques, developed for crystallographic preferred orientation studies, are of limited utilization, in addition to the fact that they cannot provide any information about vesicles or bubbles. Moreover the analysis performed directly in three dimensions (3D) overcomes the problems that usually occur when employing stereological methods for the analysis of the images obtained via microscopy-based techniques. In this study, two scoriae (from Stromboli and Etna) and a tube pumice (from Campi Flegrei) were measured via X-ray microtomography and then the resulting volumes were analyzed following the proposed procedure. Results highlight little preferred orientation for the vesicles in the two scoria samples, whereas the pumice shows a marked preferred orientation. Crystals (also divided by mineral species) were taken into account as well and in the two scoria samples there is no crystal preferred orientation, in contrast with the pumice, where crystal preferred orientation features are very similar to the ones found for the vesicles. Overall we found strong differences in preferred orientation: weak for vesicles in scoriae, showing an axial symmetry with the axis parallel to the elongation axis of the sample, and a stronger and more complex orientation texture in the pumice sample for both crystals and vesicles. The promising results obtained suggest that this procedure is potentially very useful for the analysis of preferred orientation in volcanic rocks and geomaterials in general.
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