Abstract: Ion imaging by SIMS (ion microprobe) techniques provides a novel approach to the identification of mechanisms of fluid-mineral interaction during hydrothermal experiments. In scanning ion imaging, the primary ion beam is focussed to a fine spot which is rastered across the polished sample surface, and the secondary ion signal from the mass spectrometer is synchronised with the primary beam. The resistive anode encoder provides a direct ion image of a sample surface illuminated by a defocussed primary beam. The latter system is susceptible to charging artifacts during the imaging of insulating geological materials, and has a lower dynamic range than the scanning ion imaging system.
Application of both systems to the study of fluid—mineral interaction during hydrothermal experiments are reviewed in which fluid or solid phases have been labelled with 18O-enriched isotopic tracers. These include studies of micropermeability and microporosity in feldspars, solid-state diffusion versus solution-reprecipitation, textural equilibration mechanisms, and oxygen isotope exchange in silicate—carbonate systems.