Cathodoluminescence (CL) imaging is used to study provenance, texture, growth zonation, composition, and the presence of trace elements in rocks to determine history, composition, and permeability. CL can be used to study geological samples such as sandstone and zircon. Shale has a high degree of variability of mineralogy and organic matter that affect the bulk mechanical properties. Mechanical properties of components on the nanoscale may be determined by nanoindentation to correlate with structure and bulk properties.
The porosity and composition of sedimentary rocks like sandstone and siltstone may be characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) as a complementary technique to other established methods for the oil and gas industry. Elemental analysis with EDS correlates material and structural information.