Neogene (?) subbituminous carbonaceous shale deposits from Chalaw, Afghanistan, were investigated through organic petrology techniques and standard coal analyses to determine paleoenvironment and potential for resource utilization. The Chalaw deposit, approximately 30. km southeast of Kabul, currently is exploited for brick making and domestic heating and cooking. Three multiple-bench channel samples of the mined bed at Chalaw were collected and evaluated. The presence of significant huminite (ranging from 0.2 to 59.0. vol.%, mineral-inclusive basis) is suggestive of a terrestrial lignin-rich precursor plant material. Measured reflectance values of 0.38-0.55% indicate subbituminous rank. This rank suggests burial depths of approximately 1500. m and maximum temperatures of approximately 50. ??C. Structured liptinite macerals generally are absent except for some fluorescing morphologies interpreted to be poorly-preserved root cork suberinite. Sponge spicule bioliths including gemmoscleres and megascleres are common. These petrographic observations, in addition to high mineral matter content (33 to >95 vol%), medium to high sulfur content (2.1-11.5. wt.%, dry basis; db), and the presence of common gastropod? shell fragments and an aragonite-needle chalk bed are consistent with, but not directly indicative of, a marginal marine or estuarine mangrove depositional environment. However, additional data are necessary to confirm this hypothesis and deposition in a freshwater environment cannot be ruled out at this time.Commercial-scale development and utilization of the Chalaw deposit as a thermal fuel resource may be possible using a fluidized bed combustion system which could accept the low-quality mine product currently produced. Samples examined herein contain high-ash yield (45-90. wt.%, db), high total moisture content (17-39. wt.%), low calorific value (980-6860. Btu/lb, m,mmf), and have poor agglomerating properties (FSI=0), consistent with fuels utilized in fluidized bed combustors. However, delineation of the extent of the deposit through field investigation will be necessary to make a quantified resource estimate for mine planning. ?? 2009.
Additional Publication Details
Organic petrology of subbituminous carbonaceous shale samples from Chalaw, Kabul Province, Afghanistan: Considerations for paleoenvironment and energy resource potential