Fluid inclusion microthermometry

Two phase (liquid +gas) fluid inclusions, pegmatite, Nigeria
Multiphase fluid inclusions – brine + gas + halite (NaCl) + hematite (red). Skouries porphyry Cu-Au deposit, Greece.
Linkham fluid inclusion microthermometry system with liquid nitrogen-cooled fluid inclusion cold-stage

Fluid inclusions are microscopic droplets of liquid and / or gas trapped within crystals. They are generally less than 0.1 mm in size and occur in a wide variety of earth environments. They are mostly known for their occurrence in quartz or calcite in hydrothermal vein deposits. However, fluid inclusions are can also be found in minerals that cement sedimentary rocks, in fossil amber and stalactites. Their analysis can provide valuable information about the conditions existing during the formation of the enclosing mineral.

Fluid inclusion research at BGS

BGS has a long history of fluid inclusion research. We were involved in the development of equipment used to undertake microthermometry, pioneered techniques for the isotopic and elemental analysis fluid inclusions and helped develop numerical models of phase equilibria for the interpretation of fluid inclusion microthermometric data.

The main focus of our research is the application of fluid inclusion analysis to understanding mineral deposit genesis and we have a long-established history of international collaboration with a range of universities, research institutes and geological surveys in this field. We are also interested in the broader application of fluid inclusion analysis to crustal fluid research; from studies of nuclear waste disposal to investigations into the composition of quaternary groundwaters. In addition we, undertake commercial-in-confidence research and development for oil companies to aid their understanding of sedimentary diagenetic processes and hydrocarbon migration.

Our analytical equipment includes a modern Linkam digital heating-freezing stage for microthermometric fluid inclusion analysis and Laser-Ablation ICP-MS determination of fluid composition. Furthermore, we are capable of undertaking crush-leaching analysis to determine bulk chemical composition of fluid inclusions in mineral samples.

We can also support doctoral research programmes and provide bespoke training in fluid inclusion analysis.


Please contact Dr Jeremy Rushton for further information.