Carbonate concretionary bodies were encountered during mining of the Beulah-Zap lignite seam in the Coteau Properties' Freedom mine, Mercer County, North Dakota. Preliminary studies show that areal and vertical distribution of the concretions are variable. All concretions examined are composed almost entirely of calcite. They occur as thin tabular bodies, as more or less elliptical forms, or as tear shaped bodies, and may occur individually or as clusters of buff-colored, poorly consolidated to solidly crystalline material. The carbonate masses vary in size from a few millimeters to tens of centimeters. Bedding in the lignite may display some compactional folding over dense spheroidal to elliptical concretions, indicating formation of the concretions prior to compaction. Internal morphology of the concretions is complex, and includes cone-in-cone structure, cross-cutting calcite veinlets, and multiple generations of calcite. Carbon isotope values suggest the concretions are composed of biogenic carbonate, probably related to early diagenesis and decomposition of organic matter (peat); oxygen isotope values are light, and consistent with a freshwater origin.
Additional publication details
Occurrence and morphology of carbonate concretions in the Beulah-Zap coal bed, Williston basin, North Dakota