Microscopic study of black, vitreous, carbonaceous material occurring in the Chattanooga shale in Tennessee and in the Cleveland member of the Ohio shale in Ohio has revealed coalified woody plant tissue. Some samples have shown sufficient detail to be identified with the genus Callixylon. Similar material has been reported in the literature as "bituminous" or "asphaltic" stringers.
Spectrographic analyses of the ash from the coalified wood have shown unusually high percentages of germanium, uranium, vanadium, and nickel. The inverse relationship between uranium and germanium in the ash and the ash content of various samples shows an association of these elements with the organic constituents of the coal.
On the basis of geochemical considerations, it seems most probable that the wood or coalified wood was germanium-bearing at the time logs or woody fragments were floated into the basins of deposition of the Chattanooga shale and the Cleveland member of the Ohio shale. Once within the marine environment, the material probably absorbed uranium with the formation of organo-uranium compounds such as have been found to exist in coals.
It is suggested that a more systematic search for germaniferous coals in the vicinity of the Chattanooga shale and the Cleveland member of the Ohio shale might be rewarding.