Tar yields from low-temperature carbonization correlate with the amount of crypto-eugelinite in samples selected to represent petrographically distinct coal facies of the Wyodak-Anderson coal zone. Tar yields from Fischer Assay range from <1 to 11 wt.% on a dry basis and correspond (r = 0.72) to crypto-eugelinite contents of the coal that range from 15 to 60 vol.%. Core and highwall samples were obtained from active surface mines in the Gillette field, Powder River Basin, Wyoming. Because the rank of the samples is essentially the same, differences in low-temperature carbonization yields are interpreted from compositional differences, particularly the crypto-eugelinite content. In the Wyodak-Anderson coal zone, crypto-eugelinite probably was derived from degraded humic matter which absorbed decomposition products from algae, fungi, bacteria, and liptinitic plant parts (materials possibly high in hydrogen). Previous modeling of the distribution of crypto-eugelinite in the discontinuous Wyodak-Anderson coal zone indicated that tar yields should be greater from coal composing the upper part and interior areas than from coal composing the lower parts and margins of the individual coal bodies. It is possible that hydrocarbon yields from natural coalification processes would be similar to yields obtained from laboratory pyrolysis. If so, the amount of crypto-eugelinite may also be an important characteristic when evaluating coal as source rock for migrated hydrocarbons.
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Tar yields from low-temperature carbonization of coal facies from the Powder River Basin, Wyoming, USA