MLA-SEM analyses can quantitatively define the modal mineralogy of detrital components in a variety of sample material including offshore well cuttings such that the possible source(s) of the detrital material might be ascertained. The MLA data can be queried for combinations of detrital minerals that might reflect a specific source terrane (e.g., igneous suite, metamorphic complex, etc.). In some cases, minerals may be identified that might have a unique sediment source region. The MLA data can also be examined to evaluate whether trends of changing detrital mineral compositions through time (i.e., stratigraphically) can be documented that may reflect regional changes in the level of tectonism, potential unroofing a given sediment source area, and/or shifts between sediment source areas. The MLA analyses can be used to produce maps of radiometrically dateable mineral phases within a given sample, that might be used to derive radiometric dates.

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