Virtual Petrographic Microscope: a multi-platform education and research software tool to analyse rock thin-sections

M. G. Tetley, N. R. Daczko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a free, standalone Windows and Mac OSX desktop software tool designed to aid geoscience researchers, students and educators in rock thin-section analysis without the need for a petrographic microscope. Virtual Petrographic Microscope (VPM) allows a user to analyse prepared high-resolution images of rock thin-sections on a computer using traditional features familiar to users of microscopes including stage rotation, objective zoom and switching between plane-polarised light and crossed-polarised light. VPM includes a range of 'virtual' features not possible when analysing physical thin-sections, including auto-scaling grid overlays, and annotation of thin-section images with the ability to save, export and import annotation files for collaboration and education. A case study involved a trial of the software by an intermediate undergraduate geology class. Analysis of the final examination results shows that incorporation of the VPM tool into the class program improved skill at recognising common rock-forming minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-637
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Volume61
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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