Most geological samples and some synthetic materials contain fluid inclusions. These inclusions preserve for us tiny samples of the liquid and/or the gas phase that was present during formation, although in some cases they may have undergone significant changes from the original material. Studies of the current composition of the inclusions provide data on both the original composition and the change since trapping. These inclusions are seldom larger than 1 millimeter in diameter. The composition varies from a single major compound (e.g., water) in a single phase to a very complex mixture in one or more phases. The concentration of some of the compounds present may be at trace levels. We present here some analyses of inclusions in a variety of geological samples, including diamonds. We used a sample crusher and a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) system to analyze for organic and inorganic volatiles present as major to trace constituents in inclusions. The crusher is a hardened stainless-steel piston cylinder apparatus with tungsten carbide crusing surfaces, and is operated in a pure helium atmosphere at a controlled temperature. Samples ranging from 1 mg to 1 g were crushed and the released volatiles were analyzed using multi-chromatographic columns and detectors, including the sensitive helium ionization detector. Identification of the GC peaks was carried out by GC-MS. This combination of procedures has been shown to provide geochemically useful information on the process involved in the history of the samples analyzed. ?? 1984.
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Gas chromatographic analysis of volatiles in fluid and gas inclusions