Anatomy of an intruded coal, I: Effect of contact metamorphism on whole-coal geochemistry, Springfield (No. 5) (Pennsylvanian) coal, Illinois Basin

Susan M. Rimmer, Lois E. Yoksoulian, James C. Hower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

If time and heating rate are important agents in coal maturation, one might expect to see differences in chemical changes in response to maturation depending on the means of increased rank. Using a suite of samples obtained from an intruded Pennsylvanian-age coal in southern Illinois, we present whole-coal chemical data. Comparing these data to extant geochemical data for coals that have undergone normal burial maturation, we evaluated the hypothesis that if coal alteration occurs rapidly (due to intrusion) rather than gradually (burial maturation), then different relationships are seen in chemical composition (proximate and ultimate analyses) and vitrinite reflectance. The Pennsylvanian-age (Asturian [Westphalian D]) Springfield (No. 5) coal is mined at the Big Ridge Mine, near Eldorado, southern Illinois. This high volatile B bituminous coal was intruded by an ultramafic igneous intrusion during the early Permian. Alteration occurs out to ~ 1.2× dike thickness and includes an increase in random vitrinite reflectance (Rm) from levels ~ 0.7% to over 5.3%, loss of liptinites, and formation of devolatilization vacuoles and fine mosaic texture. Decreases in volatile matter (VM) and increases in fixed carbon (FC) appear to be less than would be expected for the level of reflectance seen within the alteration halo. Carbonate minerals have a major influence on proximate analyses but even following the removal of carbonates, the decrease in VM is still less than would be seen in coals of similar vitrinite reflectance that were altered by normal burial maturation. Carbonate mineralization also contributes to variability in ultimate analysis values approaching the intrusion, particularly for %C and %O. After carbonate removal, data for these coals do not appear to follow the normal burial coalification tracks when plotted on a van Krevelen diagram and on a Seyler chart. These differences suggest that a slightly different maturation pathway may have been followed by these coals and by others that were altered rapidly by intrusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Volume79
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

Keywords

  • Carbonate
  • Coal
  • Illinois Basin
  • Intrusion
  • Volatile matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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