Skip to main content Accessibility help

Reducing Supervision of Quantitative Image Analysis of Meteorite Samples

  • Ellen J. Crapster-Pregont (a1) (a2) and Denton S. Ebel (a1) (a2)


When selecting a method for determining modal mineralogy and elemental composition of geological samples (e.g., meteorites), a number of factors should be considered, includingthe number of objects or the area to be analyzed; the scale of expected chemical variation; instrument time restrictions; and post-processing time. This study presents a method that minimizes acquisition time while maintaining the ability to distinguish minerals based on combinations of intensities of electron probe micro-analyzer-generated X-ray element maps. While some other methods yield similar outcomes, this method's post-processing utilizes standard parameterized, X-ray intensity “map math” in an algorithm that is adaptable and requires minimal supervision once implemented. This study's minimized supervision in the post-processing of X-ray intensity maps decreases analysis time and its adaptability increases the number of potential applications. The method also facilitates calibration of the exact locations of analysis using laser ablation methods. While the method described here has advantages, the choice of method always depends on the question being asked.


Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Ellen J. Crapster-Pregont, E-mail:


Hide All
Alpert, SP, Neiman, JR, Ebel, DS & Gemma, ME (2019). Using WDS mapping to identify the modal mineralogy of meteorites. In MAS Quantitative Analysis 2019, Topical Conference Program, June 24–27, 2019, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, pp. 50–51.
Bence, AE & Albee, AL (1968). Empirical correction factors for the electron microanalysis of silicates and oxides. J Geol 76, 382.
Buse, B & Kearns, S (2018). Evaluating X-ray microanalysis phase maps using principal component analysis. Microsc Microanal 24, 116125.
Carpenter, PK, North, SN, Jolliff, BL & Donovan, JJ (2013). EPMA quantitative compositional mapping and analysis of lunar samples. In 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX, March 18–22, 2013, LPI Contribution No. 1719, p. 182.
Chouinard, J & Donovan, J (2015). Quantitative elemental mapping with electron microprobe and automated data analysis. Microsc Microanal 21(S3), 21932194.
Clarke, GL, Daczko, NR & Nockolds, C (2001). A method for applying matrix corrections to X-ray intensity maps using the Bence-Albee algorithm and MATLAB. J Metamorph Petrol 19, 635645.
Cossio, R & Borghi, A (1998). PetroMap: MS-DOS software package for quantitative processing of X-ray maps of zoned minerals. Comput Geosci 24, 805814.
Crapster-Pregont, EJ (2017). Constraining the chemical environment and processes in the protoplanetary disk: Perspective from populations of calcium- and aluminum-rich inclusions in Ornans-group and metal-rich chondrules in Renazzo-group carbonaceous chondrites. Dissertation. Columbia University. Proquest. Available at
De Andrade, V, Vidal, O, Lewin, E, O'Brien, P & Agard, P (2006). Quantification of electron microprobe compositional maps of rock thin sections: An optimized method and examples. J Metamorph Geol 24, 655668.
Donovan, JJ (2019). Probe for EPMA User's Guide and Reference: Xtreme Edition, Kremser, D, Fournelle, J & Goemann, K (Eds.), p. 431. Probe Software, Inc. Available at
Donovan, JJ, Lowers, HA & Rusk, BG (2011). Improved electron probe microanalysis of trace elements in quartz. Am Mineral 96, 274282.
Donovan, JJ, Rivers, ML & Armstrong, JT (1992). PRSUPR: Automation and analysis software for wavelength dispersive electron-beam microanalysis on a PC. Am Mineral 77, 444445.
Donovan, JJ, Singer, JW & Armstrong, JT (2016). A new EPMA method for fast trace element analysis in simple matrices. Am Mineral 101, 18391853.
Donovan, JJ & Tingle, TN (1996). An improved mean atomic number background correction for quantitative microanalysis. J Microsc Soc Am 2, 17.
Ebel, DS (2006). Condensation of rocky material in astrophysical environments. In Meteorites and the Early Solar System II, Lauretta, DS & McSween, HY Jr. (Eds.), pp. 253277. Tucson, AZ, USA: University of Arizona Press.
Ebel, DS, Brunner, CE, Konrad, K, Leftwich, K, Erb, IR, Lu, M, Rodriguez, H, Crapster-Pregont, EJ, Friedrich, JM & Weisberg, MK (2016). Abundance, major element composition and size of components and matrix in CV, CO and Acfer 094 chondrites. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 172, 322356.
Ebel, DS, Weisberg, MK, Hertz, J & Campbell, AJ (2008). Shape, metal abundance, chemistry and origin of chondrules in the Renazzo (CR) chondrite. Meteorit Planet Sci 43, 17251740.
Friedrich, JM, Weisberg, MK, Ebel D, S, Biltz, AE, Corbett, BM, Iotzov, IV, Khan, WS & Wolman, MD (2014). Chondrule size and related physical properties: A compilation and evaluation of current data across all meteorite groups. Chemie der Erde – Geochem 75, 419443.
Friel, JJ (2004). X-ray and Image Analysis in Electron Microscopy, 2nd ed. Rocky Hill, NJ: Princeton Gamma-Tech, p. 113.
Goldstein, JI, Newbury, DE, Michael, JR, Ritchie, NWM, Scott, JHJ & Joy, DC (2018). Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis, 4th ed. New York: Springer, p. 554.
Hezel, DC (2010). A mathematica code to produce phase maps from two element maps. Comput Geosci 36, 10971099.
Hezel, DC, Russell, SS, Ross, AJ & Kearsley, AT (2008). Modal abundances of CAIs: Implications for bulk chondrite element abundances and fractionations. Meteorit Planet Sci 43, 18791894.
IDL (2019). IDL programming language. Available at (accessed October 5, 2019).
ImageJ (2019). NIH image analysis software, also known as FIJI. Available at (accessed October 5, 2019).
Itoh, H, Kojima, H & Yurimoto, H (2004). Petrography and oxygen isotopic compositions in refractory inclusions from CO chondrites. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 68, 183194.
Jones, RH (1994). Petrology of FeO-poor, porphyritic pyroxene chondrules in the Semarkona chondrite. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58, 53255340.
Jones, RH (2012). Petrographic constraints on the diversity of chondrule reservoirs in the protoplanetary disk. Meteorit Planet Sci 47, 11761190.
Jones, RH & Scott, ERD (1989). Petrology and thermal history of type IA chondrules in the Semarkona (LL3.0) chondrite. In Proc. 19th LPSC, vol. 19, pp. 523–536.
Lanari, P, Vho, A, Boway, T, Airaghi, L & Centrella, S (2018). Quantitative compositional mapping of mineral phases by electron probe micro-analyser. In Metamorphic Geology: Microscale to Mountain Belts, vol. 478, Ferrero, S, Lanari, P, Goncalves, P & Grosch, EG (Eds.), pp. 3963. Geological Society, London, Special Publications.
Lanari, P, Vidal, O, De Andrade, V, Dubacq, B, Lewin, E, Grosch, EG & Schwartz, S (2014). XMapTools: A MATLAB©-based program for electron microprobe X-ray image processing and geothermobarometry. Comput Geosci 62, 227240.
Liebske, C (2015). iSpectra: An open source toolbox for the analysis of spectral images recorded on scanning electron microscopes. Microsc Microanal 21, 10061016.
Lineweaver, J (1963). Oxygen outgassing caused by electron bombardment of glass. J Appl Phys 34, 17861791.
Lodders, K (2003). Solar system abundances and condensation temperatures of the elements. Astrophys J 591, 12201247.
Maloy, AK & Treiman, AH (2007). Evaluation of image classification routines for determining modal mineralogy of rocks from X-ray maps. Am Mineral 92, 17811788.
MATLAB (2019). The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, MA, USA. Available at (accessed October 5, 2019).
McSween, HY Jr. (1977 a). Carbonaceous chondrites of the Ornans type: A metamorphic sequence. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 41, 477491.
McSween, HY Jr. (1977 b). Petrographic variations among carbonaceous chondrites of the Vigarano type. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 41, 17771790.
MultiSpec (2019). Image analysis software for hyperspectral image data. Available at (accessed October 5, 2019).
Nadeau, PA, Webster, JD, Mandeville, CW, Goldoff, BA, Shimizu, N & Monteleone, B (2015). A glimpse into Augustine volcano's Pleistocene past: Insight from the petrology of a massive rhyolite deposit. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 304, 304323.
Newbury, DE (2006). The new X-ray mapping: X-ray spectrum imaging above 100 kHz output count rate with the silicon drift detector. Microsc Microanal 12, 2635.
Newbury, DE & Ritchie, NWM (2015). Performing elemental microanalysis with high accuracy and high precision by scanning electron microscopy/silicon drift detector energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM/SDD-EDS). J Mater Sci 50, 493518.
Nielsen, CH & Sigurdsson, H (1981). Quantitative methods for electron microprobe analysis of sodium in natural and synthetic glasses. Am Mineral 66, 547552.
Nissinboim, A, Ebel, DS, Harlow, GE, Boesenber, JS, Sherman, KM, Lewis, ER, Brusentsova, TN, Peale, RE, Lisse, CM & Hibbitts, CA (2010). The American Museum of Natural History mineral library for spectroscopic standards. In 41st LPSC, abstract #2518. Lunar and Planetary Institute.
Paque, JM & Cuzzi, JN (1997). Physical characteristics of chondrules and rims, and aerodynamic sorting in the solar nebula. In 28th LPSC, abstract #1189. Lunar and Planetary Institute.
Pouchou, JL & Pichoir, F (1985). “PAP” φ(ρZ) procedure for improved quantitative microanalysis. In Microbeam Analysis, Armstrong, JT (Ed.), pp. 104106. San Francisco, CA, USA: San Francisco Press.
Pret, D, Sammartino, S, Beaufort, D, Meunier, A, Fialin, M & Michot, LJ (2010). A new method for quantitative petrography based on image processing of chemical element maps: Part I. Mineral mapping applied to compacted bentonites. Am Mineral 95, 13791388.
Rubin, AE (1998). Correlated petrologic and geochemical characteristics of CO3 chondrites. Meteorit Planet Sci 33, 385391.
Rubin, AE, James, JA, Keck, BD & Weeks, K (1985). The Colony meteorite and variations in CO3 chondrite properties. Meteoritics 20, 175196.
Russell, SS, Huss, GR, Fahey, AJ, Greenwood, AJ, Hutchison, R & Wasserburg, GJ (1998). An isotopic and petrologic study of calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions from CO3 meteorites. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 62, 689714.
Schindelin, J, Arganda-Carreras, I, Frise, E, Kaynig, V, Longair, M, Pietzsch, T, Preibisch, S, Rueden, C, Saalfeld, S, Schmid, B, Tinevez, J-Y, White, DJ, Hartenstein, V, Eliceiri, K, Tomancak, P & Cardona, A (2012). Fiji: An open-source platform for biological-image analysis. Nat Methods 9, 676682.
Scott, ERD & Jones, RH (1990). Disentangling nebular and asteroidal features of CO3 carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 54, 24852502.
Smith, JV & Stenstrom, RC (1965). Chemical analysis of olivines by the electron microprobe. Mineral Mag 34, 436459.
Sparks, J (2013). LasyBoy Version 3.77. An Excel Program for Processing ICP-MS Data. Boston University.
TerrSet (2019). TerrSet 18.3 Software System. Worcester, MA: Clark University. Available at (accessed October 5, 2019).
Valencia, SN, Carpenter, PK & Joliff, BL (2018). Quantitative x-ray compositional mapping by electron probe microanalysis of complex lunar samples. Geol Soc Am Abstr Prog 50(6). DOI: 10.1130/abs/2018AM-324567.
Wasson, JT & Rubin, AE (2009). Composition of matrix in the CR chondrite LAP 02342. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 73, 14361460.
Weisberg, MK, McCoy, TJ & Krot, AN (2006). Systematics and evaluation of meteorite classification. In Meteorites and the Early Solar System II, Lauretta, DS & McSween, HY Jr. (Eds.), pp. 1952. Tucson, AZ, USA: University of Arizona Press.
Yasumoto, A, Yoshida, K, Kuwatani, T, Nakamura, D, Svojtka, M & Hirajima, T (2018). A rapid and precise quantitative electron probe chemical mapping technique and its application to an ultrahigh-pressure eclogite from the Moldanubian Zone of the Bohemian Massif (Nove Dvory, Czech Republic). Am Mineral 103, 16901698.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Crapster-Pregont and Ebel supplementary material
Crapster-Pregont and Ebel supplementary material 1

 PDF (93 KB)
93 KB
Supplementary materials

Crapster-Pregont and Ebel supplementary material
Crapster-Pregont and Ebel supplementary material 2

 PDF (196 KB)
196 KB
Supplementary materials

Crapster-Pregont and Ebel supplementary material
Crapster-Pregont and Ebel supplementary material 3

 PDF (92 KB)
92 KB

Reducing Supervision of Quantitative Image Analysis of Meteorite Samples

  • Ellen J. Crapster-Pregont (a1) (a2) and Denton S. Ebel (a1) (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed