Quartz is one of the major constitutive minerals of sedimentary rocks and its abundance in shales is thought to have a significant control on their mechanical properties as well as on the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing stimulation. While mineralogy based estimations of the strength and deformation behaviour (brittle or ductile) of shales are commonly used in practical applications, it should be noted that they do not account for parameters like phase distribution and cementation that also affect mechanical and elastic properties. Quartz in shales and can occur in at least two forms: i) as a detrital component and ii) as an authigenic mineral precipitated during diagenesis. In this study, we present high resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM)-cathodo-luminescence (CL) imaging of authigenic quartz combined with Electron Probe Micro-Analysis (EPMA) trace-element quantification at sub-micron spatial resolution in samples from the Marcellus Shale of NE Pennsylvania, USA. For the first time the geochemistry of authigenic quartz in shales is presented and discussed in relation to the silica source and conditions of precipitation.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Boggs, S.J. and Krinsley, D.
    [2006] Applications of Cathodoluminescence Imaging to the Study of Sedimentary Rocks. 165 pp. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780 521 85878 6.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Delle Piane, C., Almqvist, B.S., MacRae, C.M., Torpy, A., Mory, A.J. and Dewhurst, D.N.
    [2015] Texture and diagenesis of Ordovician shale from the Canning Basin, Western Australia: Implications for elastic anisotropy and geomechanical properties. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 59, 56–71.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Delle Piane, C., Bourdet, J., Josh, M., Clennell, M.B., Rickard, W.D., Saunders, M., Sherwood, N., Li, Z., Dewhurst, D.N. and Raven, M.D.
    [2018] Organic matter network in post mature Marcellus Shale: effects on petrophysical Properties. AAPG Bulletin, 102(11), 2305–2332.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Jarvie, Daniel M., Ronald J.Hill, Tim E.Ruble, and Richard M.Pollastro
    [2007] Unconventional shale-gas systems: The Mississippian Barnett Shale of north-central Texas as one model for thermogenic shale-gas assessment. AAPG Bulletin91(4), 475–499.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Lehmann, K., Pettke, T. and Ramseyer, K.
    [2011] Significance of trace elements in syntaxial quartz cement, Haushi Group sandstones, Sultanate of Oman. Chemical geology, 280(1–2), 47–57.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. MacRae, C.M., Wilson, N.C., Torpy, A. and Davidson, C.J.
    [2012] Hyperspectral cathodoluminescence imaging and analysis extending from ultraviolet to near infrared. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 18(6), 1239–1245.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Rusk, B.G., Lowers, H.A. and Reed, M.H.
    [2008] Trace elements in hydrothermal quartz: Relationships to cathodoluminescent textures and insights into vein formation. Geology, 36(7), 547–550.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Stevens-Kalceff, M.A. & Phillips, M.R.
    [1995]. Cathodoluminescence micro-characterization of the defect structure of quartz. Phys Rev B52, 3122–3134.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Vasyukova, O.V., Goemann, K., Kamenetsky, V.S., MacRae, C.M. and Wilson, N.C.
    [2013] Cathodoluminescence properties of quartz eyes from porphyry-type deposits: Implications for the origin of quartz. American Mineralogist, 98(1), 98–109.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Wilson, N.C., MacRae, C.M., Torpy, A., Davidson, C.J., Vicenzi, E.P.
    [2012] Hyperspectral cathodoluminescence examination of defects in a carbonado diamond, Microscopy and Microanalysis, 18(6) 1303–1312.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error