Quartz cathodoluminescence properties and mineralogy of three sets of samples and vegetal and/ or miospore data from two sets of samples from the Upper Freeport coal bed, west-central Pennsylvania, show that detrital influence from a penecontemporaneous channel is limited to an area less than three km from the channel. The sets of samples examined include localities of the coal bed where (1) the coal is thin, split by partings, and near a penecontemporaneous fluvial channel, (2) the coal is relatively thick and located approximately three km from the channel, and (3) the coal is thick and located approximately 12 km from the channel. Samples from locality 1 (nearest the channel) have relatively high-ash yields (low-temperature ash average = 27.3% on a pyrite- and calcite-free basis) and high proportions of quartz and clay minerals. The quartz is primarily detrital, as determined by cathodoluminescent properties, and the ratio of kaolinite to illite is low. In addition, most of the plant remains and miospores indicate peat-forming plants that required low nutrient levels for growth. In contrast, samples from localities 2 and 3, from the more interior parts of the bed, contained predominantly authigenic quartz grains nd yielded low-temperature ash values of less than 14% on a pyrite- and calcite-free basis. The low-temperature ash contains low concentrations of quartz and clay minerals and the ratio of kaolinite to illite is relatively high. Although intact core was not available for paleobotanical analyses, another core collected within 1 km from locality 3 contained plant types interpreted to have required high nutrient levels for growth. These data indicate that mineral formation is dominated by authigenic processes in interior parts of the coal body. Some of the authigenic quartz may have been derived from herbaceous ferns as indicated by patterns in the palynological and paleobotanical data. In contrast, detrital processes appeared to be limited to in areas directly adjacent to the penecontemporaneous channel where the coal bed is high in ash, split by mineral-rich partings, and of little or no economic value. ?? 1991.
Additional publication details
Effects of detrital influx in the Pennsylvanian Upper Freeport peat swamp