X-ray diffraction is a cool technology that has been around. The way it works is that a beam of x-rays will hit a material and the waves will scatter. We can measure the angles at which these rays depart which corresponds to specific mineral structures and analyze them in computer software. It’s basically an accurate way to do mineral ID when you might have a mixed composition of minerals or are working with small or indistinguishable samples. I think we might learn a lot from a study like this – looking at the mineralogy of petrified wood on a broad geographic and temporal scale.