The 11-13 m thick Foord Seam in the fault-bounded Stellarton Basin, Nova Scotia, is the thickest seam from the Euramerican floral province known to contain coal-balls. In addition to the first discovery of autochthonous coal-balls in the Foord Seam, Nova Scotia, its shale parting also contains hypautochthonous coal-balls with histologically preserved plant structures. The coal-ball discovery helps fill a stratigraphic gap in coal-ball occurrences in the upper Carboniferous (Bolsovian) of Euramerica. The autochthonous and hypautochthonous coal-balls have a similar mineralogical composition and are composed of siderite (81-100%), dolomite-ankerite (0-19%), minor quartz and illite, and trace amounts of 'calcite'. Similar is also their permineralizing mineralogy, which consists of dolomite-ankerite and siderite. Their low pyrite content and carbonate mineralogy, and nonmarine origin, differentiates the Foord Seam coal-balls from other Euramerican coal-ball occurrences. A preliminary geochemical model, which is based on oxygen and carbon isotopic data, indicates that siderite in both the autochthonous and hypautochthonous coal-balls is of very early diagenetic (nonmarine) origin from 13C-enriched bicarbonate derived from bacterial methanogenesis of organic matter.
Additional publication details
Geochemistry of autochthonous and hypautochthonous siderite-dolomite coal-balls (Foord Seam, Bolsovian, Upper Carboniferous), Nova Scotia, Canada