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Open-File Report 2008–1244

User’s Guide to HandLens—A Computer Program that Calculates the Chemistry of Minerals in Mixtures

By D.D. Eberl

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HandLens is a computer program, written in Excel macro language, that calculates the chemistry of minerals in mineral mixtures (for example, in rocks, soils and sediments) for related samples from inputs of quantitative mineralogy and chemistry. For best results, the related samples should contain minerals having the same chemical compositions; that is, the samples should differ only in the proportions of minerals present. This manual describes how to use the program, discusses the theory behind its operation, and presents test results of the program’s accuracy.
Required input for HandLens includes quantitative mineralogical data, obtained, for example, by RockJock analysis of X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns, and quantitative chemical data, obtained, for example, by X-ray florescence (XRF) analysis of the same samples. Other quantitative data, such as sample depth, temperature, surface area, also can be entered. The minerals present in the samples are selected from a list, and the program is started. The results of the calculation include: (1) a table of linear coefficients of determination (r2’s) which relate pairs of input data (for example, Si versus quartz weight percents); (2) a utility for plotting all input data, either as pairs of variables, or as sums of up to eight variables; (3) a table that presents the calculated chemical formulae for minerals in the samples; (4) a table that lists the calculated concentrations of major, minor, and trace elements in the various minerals; and (5) a table that presents chemical formulae for the minerals that have been corrected for possible systematic errors in the mineralogical and/or chemical analyses. In addition, the program contains a method for testing the assumption of constant chemistry of the minerals within a sample set.

Revised March 2009

First posted August 2008

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Suggested citation:

Eberl, D.D., 2008, User’s guide to HandLens—A computer program that calculates the chemistry of minerals in mixtures: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1244, 27 p.




Installation of HandLens

How to Run HandLens

How to Enter Mineral Formulae into HandLens

Theory Behind the Operation of HandLens

Tests of Handlens Using RockGenerator

Concluding Remarks


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