Over the years, molar element ratio (MER) analysis has become both highly adaptable and extraordinarily useful in determining the mineralogical controls in rocks. Pearce element ratio (PER) analysis and general element ratio (GER) analysis are two different but complimentary forms of MER analysis that identify the mineralogical controls in igneous and sedimentary rocks, mineral deposit alteration zones and chemical weathering. As powerful as MER analysis is, it has not gained the following it deserves amongst geoscientists, in large part due to the lack of updated computer software that can plot data in a way that facilitates the interpretation of MER diagrams. These diagrams can clarify the mineralogical history of rocks and help minimize interpretational ambiguity.


Drs. Clifford Stanley and James Diamond of Acadia University designed and developed Java-based software that simplifies the accurate plotting of both PER and GER diagrams, and accelerates their interpretation. Programming the software in Java makes the software available to virtually all laptops, desktops or workstations, including those running MS-windows, Apple OS X, Linux or Unix. The features of the program and the flexibility of Java will make the software more accessible to a wider population of geoscientists with differing skill sets.


MERLIN software in Java script is now available. The new program provides a quantitative and objective method to measure data in order to understand the impact and extent of hydrothermal reaction on mineralization, and important step in mineral exploration. It can also be used to examine fractionation processes and so gain a better understanding of the genesis of igneous rocks. 

Here is a simple graph examining the lithogeochemistry of turbidites from the Castlepoint area of New Zealand (North Island), with information about it below. This PER diagram tests for compositional control by calcite. Samples plotting on the calcite compositional control line (m = 1) contain calcite; samples plotting with higher ratios along this line contain more calcite. Samples plotting to the right of the calcite compositional control line (m = 1) contain siderite, whereas the sample plotting significantly above the calcite compositional control line (m = 1) contains apatite.


  • Cliff Stanley, Acadia University
  • 1-905-585-1344

Solution team

  • Douglas Morrison, CEMI
  • Jim Diamond, Acadia University
  • Kelly Russell, University of British Columbia
  • Jim Nicholls, University of Calgary
  • Tony Beswick, Laurentian University (Professor Emeritus