Geochemistry, mineralogy and thermal analyses of Cretaceous coals from the Benue Trough basin Nigeria: Reconnaissance assessments

Segun A. Akinyemi, Bemgba B. Nyakuma, Olajide F. Adebayo, Ayobami T. Kayode, Aliyu Jauro, Olusola A. OlaOlorun, Adeyinka O. Aturamu, Henry Y. Madukwe, Adebanji K. Adegoke, Tuan Amran T. Abdullah, Wilson M. Gitari, Rabelani Mudzielwana, Shahadev Rabha, Binoy K. Saikia, James C. Hower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Selected coal samples from the Benue Trough Basin (Nigeria) were analysed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS), Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and all the techniques used. The main minerals detected are clays (e.g., kaolinite and illite), quartz, feldspar, hematite and magnetite with traces of calcite, siderite, dolomite, orthoclase and graphite. The authigenic and detrital origins of the clay minerals detected were confirmed by FT-IR analysis. The XPS spectra identified elements similar to the mineral phases observed in the XRD spectra. The contents of Al2O3, CaO, Fe2O3, K2O, Na2O and P2O5 were below the values reported for US and Chinese coals. The elemental indexes (e.g. Al2O3/TiO2, Co/Th vs. La/Sc, Cr/Th vs. Sc/Th) showed that the influence of intermediate-mafic materials derived from source-region sediments is negligible. The Ni/Co ratio showed that the coal forming marsh experienced comparatively mild redox conditions. The ratios of V/(V + Ni), Co/Ni, and Mo/Ni revealed marginal or non-existent marine effects. Trace metals ratios such as V/Ni, Sr/Ba, Rb/Sr, Sr/Cu and V/Zn showed evidence of a large degree of freshwater environment mainly in a humid climate. Maceral composition reflects fluctuations of dry and wet conditions in the forest swamp in a humid environment with an entry of marginal marine system and good plant tissue preservation. The rare earth elements (REE) in the coal samples studied are characterized by light-REE enrichment. Thermal decomposition resulted in the range of residual mass (RM = 33.67%–61.28%) and mass losses (ML = 38.72% - 66.33%), which attributed to the drying, devolatilization, and coke formation. Thermal reactivity followed the sample order A-5 > A-1 > A-6, which indicates A-5 is more thermally reactive. The results indicate that the coal samples could be exploited for electric power generation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104167
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2021


  • Coal
  • Geochemistry
  • Mineral
  • Thermogravimetry
  • Trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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