Scanning electron microscopy is very useful for morphological examination of pedofeatures. Whenever quantitative elemental microanalysis of pedofeatures has been required during such morphological examinations, either thin sections or polished resin-impregnated blocks across similar pedofeatures have had to be prepared to satisfy the smooth flat surface requirement of currently used electron microanalytical methods. This pre-requisite has been accompanied by both conceptual and technical problems. A direct method for obtaining quantitative elemental microanalyses of rough-surfaced soil specimens in the scanning electron microscope is examined here. This method is based on the use of peak-to-background ratios in energy dispersive X-ray spectra. Analysis of a pyrite standard at a range of geometrys of analysis and of the iron sulphide minerals in two Holocene sediments indicates that the peak-to-background method can be used to obtain reliable quantitative elemental compositions of rough-surfaced soil specimens in the scanning electron microscope. Under ideal operating conditions (i.e., flat, polished specimens), the peak-to-background method will not be as accurate as the currently used peak integral methods; however, the results here indicate that the peak-to-background method has, for the analysis of soil, the important advantage of being able to directly provide reliable quantitative elemental microanalyses of pedofeatures on rough-surfaced soil specimens in the scanning electron microscope.