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Trace element geochemistry of altered volcanic ash layers (tonsteins) in late Permian coal-bearing formations of eastern Yunnan and western Guizhou Provinces, China

International Journal of Coal Geology

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DOI: 10.1016/S0166-5162(00)00017-3

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Abstract

Trace element compositions were determined (by instrumental neutron activation analysis; INAA) in 30 samples of synsedimentary volcanic ash-derived tonsteins and detrital claystones from coal seams within the late Permian coal-bearing formation of eastern Yunnan and western Guizhou Provinces, China. The characteristics of trace-element geochemistry in the tonsteins can be distinguished from those of detrital claystones because of the former's unique volcanic-ash origin. The detrital claystones are characterized by their relatively high content of V, Ti, Sc, Cr, Co and Ni, relatively low content of Th and U, Th/U ratio, and small negative Eu anomaly (Eu/Eu* 0.63-0.93). Overall, these trace element characteristics are consistent with a mafic source similar to the composition of basalt rocks in the erosional region on the western edge of the study area. In contrast, the tonsteins are low in V, Ti, Sc, Cr, Co and Ni contents and have a high Th/U ratio with a distinct negative Eu anomaly (Eu/Eu* normally in the range of 0.2-0.4), consistent with a silicic magmatic source. Within the group of tonsteins, those from the lower section (P2.1) of the coal-bearing formation are relatively high in Ti, Zr, Hf, Nb, Ta and rare earth elements (REE), as compared to those from the middle and upper sections (P2.2+3). In trace-element discrimination diagrams (scatter plots) of Hf-Ta, Ti-Ta, Ti-V, Hf-Sc, Lu-Hf and Lu-Th, tonsteins from the P2.1 horizon always fall in isolated distribution areas, separate from the tonsteins of the P2.2+3 horizon. These results suggest that the source materials of tonsteins from the two separate horizons were probably derived from volcanic ash falls of two distinctly different natures. Based on a comparison of the concentrations and assemblages of trace elements between various magmatic rocks, the source materials of tonsteins from P2.1 horizon were mostly composed of calc-alkalic, silica-poor volcanic ash (similar to rhyodacitic magma), whereas those from P2.+3 were apparently more siliceous and K-rich (rhyolitic magma). Thus, tonsteins from the two different horizons are characterized by unique geochemical properties, which remain constant over a wide lateral extent. Integration of trace-elemental compositions with mineralogical and textural observations makes possible the establishment of tonstein stratigraphy, thus, facilitating more precise and reliable coal-seam correlations. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.Trace element compositions were determined in 30 samples of synsedimentary volcanic ash-derived tonsteins and detrital claystones from coal seams within the late Permian coal-bearing formation of eastern Yunnan and western Guizhou Provinces, China. The characteristics of trace-element geochemistry in the tonsteins can be distinguished from those of detrital claystones because of the former's unique volcanic-ash origin. The detrital claystones are characterized by their relatively high content of V, Ti, Sc, CR, Co and Ni, relatively low content of Th and U, Th/U ratio, and small negative Eu anomaly.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Trace element geochemistry of altered volcanic ash layers (tonsteins) in late Permian coal-bearing formations of eastern Yunnan and western Guizhou Provinces, China
Series title:
International Journal of Coal Geology
DOI:
10.1016/S0166-5162(00)00017-3
Volume
44
Issue:
3-4
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher location:
Elsevier Science B.V.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
International Journal of Coal Geology
First page:
305
Last page:
324
Number of Pages:
20