A stitch in time: High resolution petrographic thin section stitching

Rock thin sections are crucial in understanding the diagenetic processes and pore network geometry of a sample. They are therefore an essential element of any reservoir quality study in the energy sector.

21 Apr 2020

Thin section imagery is normally limited to isolated, high magnification images which can make it challenging to deliver context. Similarly, low magnification images do not allow fine detail and larger scale structures to be resolved.

At RPS, we've developed a petrographic image stitching process that combines multiple images to produce one high resolution image of the whole thin section.

Stitched thin section imagery allows the characterisation of larger scale structures and enables micro-features to be seen in context of the bigger picture. The stitched images are also much more accessible than physical glass thin sections. They are a digital product that can be shared and viewed across numerous media, allowing for more effective teamwork and faster decision making.

Digital stitched images are also far more convenient for archiving. They require no physical storage space, can’t be damaged and are easily accessed from anywhere in the world via cloud storage - which is effectively being used by RPS to support current remote working conditions. Stitched images can also be an invaluable tool for training and knowledge retention.

The thin section in digital form allows the user to access it from anywhere, without the need for any specialist equipment. The ability to zoom in and out gives the user the ability to see larger scale structures, and finer details such as grain coating clays, not previously possible with a basic scanned thin section. The digital format also allows additional analysis to be performed on the image, such as digital porosity, porosity mapping and grain fracture analysis.

Thin section image stitching has transformed the way we look at thin sections. These images provide a higher level of detail and context which wasn’t possible with traditional techniques. It allows for more effective analysis and makes the thin sections available to a wider audience.

If you would like to understand more about image stitching and how this can deliver competitive advantage, please contact Ben Ursinus at RPS Specialist Geology ben.ursinus@rpsgroup.com

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