Variations in elemental and molecular chemistry of macerals, with vitrinite, semifusinite and sporinite in particular, are discussed for the coal seams of the Mist Mountain Formation in the Elk Valley coalfield, in western Canada. In the south Elk Valley coalfield, carbon content of vitrinite oscillates around 85%, and oxygen content increases gradually up section, from seam A to C. In the north Elk Valley coalfield, carbon content in vitrinite shows marked variations (from 70% to 85%) between the samples and is lower than in the south Elk Valley coalfield, which is consistent with a higher maturation level of south Elk Valley coalfield samples. Sulphur content is below 1% in both coalfields. Semifusinite, in general, has higher carbon and lower oxygen content than vitrinite, whereas cutinite has higher carbon content than vitrinite and slightly higher or comparable to that of semifusinite. Functional group distributions show large variations between the seams and these variations are attributed mainly to differences in a primary depositional environment and only occasionally to later weathering and oxidation processes. The results presented in this paper provide also information on the length and branching of aliphatic chains, which, for liptinite macerals is valuable from the oil generation viewpoint, whereas for semifusinite, it may help to understand reactive versus non-reactive behaviour during coking.
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Variation in the chemistry of macerals in coals of the Mist Mountain Formation, Elk Valley coalfield, British Columbia, Canada