Drilling through Quaternary alluvium and Tertiary cover at low-gravity anomalies in northwestern Bangladesh showed the presence of Permian sedimentary rocks in depressions that may be as much as a thousand meters deep in the crystalline basement. These Permian strata include low-sulfur, high-volatile bituminous coals in beds as thick as 15 m. The maceral group composition of these coals was determined by semiautomated reflectance scanning with a motorized microscope stage, rather than by point counting. This method was chosen to give objectively recorded raw analytical data and to provide a graphical picture of each sample. The coals are mostly "Gondwana" type (poorly layered "plum pudding" with abundant minerals and inertinite in a vitrinite groundmass) that would be classed as semi-dull (inerto-gelitite) coals. However, six samples have more than 70% vitrinite. None of the samples would be classed as sapropelic (liptinitic). The upper, middle, and lower main seams in borehole GDH-45 were sampled in 10 benches (0.1-3 m thick) each. Inertinite ranges from 7 to 100 vol% (mineral free basis) in individual benches, but composite seam averages are 41, 54 and 67%. Inertinite increases toward the top of two main seams so the bottom would yield the most valuable first mine slices. Some benches with extremely high inertinite content, such as the top 7 m of the lower thick seam, might be mined specially for blending with foreign low-inert coals to increase coke strength. The free swelling index reaches 7.5 in several vitrinite-rich benches, which can indicate good coking coal. Much of the vitrinite is fluorescent, which indicates secondary bituminization characteristic of vitrinite in good coking coals. Ash yields range from 8 to 52%, with composite seam averages of 15, 14 and 24%. Rare visible pyrite is in veinlets or small nodules; framboids and dispersed pyrite are absent. In borehole GDH-40 near Barapukuria (200-500 m depth), the mean random reflectance of vitrinite "A" ranges from 0.60 to 0.80% Ro and vitrinite "B" ranges from 0.55 to 0.65%. In borehole GDH-45 near Khalaspir (287-442 m), the reflectance of vitrinite ranges from 0.79 to 0.94%. In individual cases, the vitrinite is difficult to define because of semivitrinite at higher reflectance (forming a separate peak on several reflectograms) and because of surface bitumen films or resinous (?) inclusions at lower reflectance. On the basis of vitrinite reflectance, the coals can be considered to have entered the "main phase of bitumen generation" of organic thermal maturation as understood in petroleum geochemistry. ?? 1991.
Additional publication details
Petrography of Permian "Gondwana" coals from boreholes in northwestern Bangladesh, based on semiautomated reflectance scanning