The images we capture are high in quality, and unique in composition. Our captured images are natural phenomena created by using a specialized rock microscope that emits plane-polarizing and cross-polarizing light.

A micro-millimeter thin slice of rock is glued to a glass slide which is placed on a microscope stage. Plane-polarizing and cross-polarizing light passes through the rock sample via a small hole in the microscope stage. By rotating the stage, we can observe visual effects as the passage of light through the rock material reveals the internal structural and compositional characteristics of the different minerals present in the rock sample. The sharp or blurry effect of crystal edges, internal fracture planes (cleavage), colour range (natural and birefringent) and other visible features are all manifestation of unique internal arrangement of different atoms which make the rigid mineral structure.

Image Sharpness: The hardness of a mineral is dependent on the arrangement of atomic bonds that make up the crystal lattice of a mineral. Strong bonds make for a hard mineral; one that has sharp and clearly defined edges. Soft minerals have weaker bonds and tend to have indistinct edges and appear blurry. Geological processes imposed on the rock after it formed can also affect the sharpness of an image. Sometimes the addition of pressure, heat, or infiltration of fluids can cause minerals to breakdown while at the same time, encourage new minerals to grow. The result is often indistinct or blurry edges between minerals. Magnification of the microscope can also affect the sharpness of the image. The higher the magnification, the smaller the view that is in focus and, consequently, the more blurry an image becomes.

Colour: Each mineral exhibits two ranges of colour. Under plane-polarizing light minerals are typically semi-transparent and less exotic in colour. However, using cross-polarizing light while rotating the microscope stage, a mineral may exhibit a range of colours, some quite bright and exotic. A mineral colour in plane-polarizing light is a direct reflection of the composition of a mineral (i.e. minerals with chromium tend to be more green and iron more red). The cross-polarizing light range (birefringence) reflects the orientation of a mineral structure on the glass slide and the mineral’s intersection with the two pathways of light emanating from the microscope. As we rotate the stage in cross-polarizing light, minerals become black at specific angles because the light is unable to pass through that orientation of the mineral structure or it becomes a brighter colour when the maximum amount of light can pass through.