Shanxi province, located in the center of China, is the biggest coal base of China. There are five coal-forming periods in Shanxi province: Late Carboniferous (Taiyuan Formation), Early Permian (Shanxi Formation), Middle Jurassic (Datong Formation), Tertiary (Taxigou Formation), and Quaternary. Hundred and ten coal samples and a peat sample from Shanxi province were collected and the contents of 20 potentially hazardous trace elements (PHTEs) (As, B, Ba, Cd, Cl, Co, Cr, Cu, F, Hg, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Th, U, V and Zn) in these samples were determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis, atomic absorption spectrometry, cold-vapor atomic absorption spectrometry, ion chromatography spectrometry, and wet chemical analysis. The result shows that the brown coals are enriched in As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, F and Zn compared with the bituminous coals and anthracite, whereas the bituminous coals are enriched in B, Cl, Hg, and the anthracite is enriched in Cl, Hg, U and V. A comparison with world averages and crustal abundances (Clarke values) shows that the Quaternary peat is highly enriched in As and Mo, Tertiary brown coals are highly enriched in Cd, Middle Jurassic coals, Early Permian coals and Late Carboniferous coals are enriched in Hg. According to the coal ranks, the bituminous coals are highly enriched in Hg, whereas Cd, F and Th show low enrichments, and the anthracite is also highly enriched in Hg and low enrichment in Th. The concentrations of Cd, F, Hg and Th in Shanxi coals are more than world arithmetic means of concentrations for the corresponding elements. Comparing with the United States coals, Shanxi coals show higher concentrations of Cd, Hg, Pb, Se and Th. Most of Shanxi coals contain lower concentrations of PHTEs. ?? 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Distribution of potentially hazardous trace elements in coals from Shanxi province, China