The distribution of Cr and other trace metals of environmental interest in a range of widely used U.S. coals was investigated using the Stanford-USGS SHRIMP-RG ion microprobe . Using the oxygen ion source, concentrations of Cr (11 to 176 ppm), V (23 to 248 ppm), Mn (2 to 149 ppm), Ni (2 to 30 ppm), and 13 other elements were determined in illite/smectite, a group of clay minerals commonly present in coal. The results confirm previous indirect or semi-quantitative determinations indicating illite/smectite to be an important host of these metals. Calibration was achieved using doped aluminosilicate-glass synthetic standards and glasses prepared from USGS rock standards. Grains for analysis were identified optically, and confirmed by 1) precursory electron microprobe analysis and wavelength-dispersive compositional mapping, and 2) SHRIMP-RG major element data obtained concurrently with trace element results. Follow-up investigations will focus on the distribution of As and other elements that are more effectively ionized with the cesium primary beam currently being tested.
Additional publication details
Stanford-USGS shrimp-RG ion microprobe: A new approach to determining the distribution of trace elements in coal