Rare Earth and Critical Element Chemistry of the Volcanic Ash-fall Parting in the Fire Clay Coal, Eastern Kentucky, USA

Jingjing Liu, Shifeng Dai, Debora Berti, Cortland F. Eble, Mengjun Dong, Yan Gao, James C. Hower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the search for rare earth and other critical elements in coal measures, the coals are emphasized with lesser consideration for the accompanying rocks. In this investigation, the focus is on a lanthanide-rich, 315–317 Ma (after Machlus et al., Chemical Geology, 539, art. no. 119485, 2020) volcanic ash-fall trachyandesite to trachyte tonstein which occurs in association with the Middle Pennsylvanian Duckmantian-age Fire Clay coal in eastern Kentucky. The tonstein was deposited largely during peat accumulation, although it is known to occur at the base of the coal or within the underclay. The mineralogy is dominated by kaolinite with illite and quartz as minor to major minerals. A number of accessory minerals, as detected by X-ray diffraction + Siroquant XRD software and scanning and transmission electron microscopy (S/TEM), include REE-bearing phosphates (apatite, crandallite, florencite, monazite), and Y-bearing zircon. The highest rare earth element + Y concentrations occur in the weathered tonsteins, probably due to the concentration of these minerals after weathering of kaolinite from the rock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-339
Number of pages31
JournalClays and Clay Minerals
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to The Clay Minerals Society.

Keywords

  • Critical elements
  • Lanthanides
  • Sustainability
  • Tuffaceous deposits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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