Elements and phosphorus minerals in the middle Jurassic inertinite-rich coals of the Muli Coalfield on the Tibetan Plateau

Shifeng Dai, James C. Hower, Colin R. Ward, Wenmu Guo, Hongjian Song, Jennifer M.K. O'Keefe, Panpan Xie, Madison M. Hood, Xiaoyun Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


The content, modes of occurrence, and origin of elements and phosphorus minerals in the Jurassic coals of the Muli Coalfield, on the Tibetan Plateau, were investigated using optical microscopy, field emission-scanning electron microscopy in conjunction with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry, X-ray powder diffraction, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The Muli coals (L1 and L2 Coals) are of high volatile A bituminous to medium volatile bituminous rank, characterized by low-sulfur contents, and are generally dominated by the inertinite-group macerals (predominantly semifusinite and fusinite). The L1 Coal contains abundant apatite (7.9% on average, on an organic-matter-free basis) and alumino-phosphate minerals of goyazite-gorceixite-crandallite group (4.9% on average), and, accordingly, the concentrations of elements F (253. μg/g on average), P (2349. μg/g), Sr (526. μg/g), and Ba (790. μg/g) are elevated as compared with common world hard coals. The deposition of phosphorous-bearing minerals in the Muli coals was not derived from volcanic input; penetration of Ca- and Al-rich solutions, release of phosphorus from organic matter during plant decay, and an appropriate sedimentary environment (such as low pH, low water table for peat, and oxidizing conditions) were critical factors in deposition of the phosphorus minerals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-47
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V..


  • Inertinite-rich coal
  • Muli Coalfield
  • Phosphorus minerals
  • Trace elements in coal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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