Due to technological development, state-of-the-art high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT) systems can be developed, enabling the internal visualization of geomaterials in three dimensions. However, in order to obtain structural information one also needs proper three-dimensional (3D) analysis software. In this paper, the potential for petrographic purposes of high-resolution X-ray CT in combination with the 3D analysis software Morpho+ is explored for a Belgian sandstone sample. The advantage of the CT technique is the fact that it is an ideal tool to characterize the internal structure of a rock in three dimensions in a nondestructive way while a limitation of this CT technique is that only small samples can be combined with a high spatial resolution and therefore often many samples will need to be scanned in order to obtain representative volumes. The relationship between sample size and obtained spatial resolution are discussed as well as the influence on the spatial resolution exerted by some important technical aspects like the used X-ray source and detector. This paper focuses in detail on the structures that can be determined by means of micro- and high-resolution X-ray CT in combination with 3D algorithms.
- Received 9 November 2009.
- Revision received 26 September 2010.
- Accepted 2 October 2010.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America