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July-August 2014

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Agate in Thin Section

HAND-LENS OBSERVATIONS OF ROCKS CAN ONLY GIVE LIMITED INFORMATION. Greater insight into the microtexture and identification of a particular solid can be made by creating a thin section. Here, the sample is ground down to a standard 0.03 mm and examined using a microscope. Thin sections are widely used throughout industry and are not just limited to rocks and minerals. Bones, pottery, and metals can also be examined in thin section. It is worth saying at the outset that it is not difficult to make a passable rock thin-section using simple equipment.

Terry Moxon has been studying agate for the past forty years and is presently a part-time research visitor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, in the United Kingdom. Agate is discussed on his website (, where he can be contacted.

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