Petrology and chemistry of Permian coals from the Paraná Basin: 1. Santa Terezinha, Leão-Butiá and Candiota Coalfields, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

International Journal of Coal Geology
By: , and 



The current paper presents results on petrological and geochemical coal seam characterization in Permian coal-bearing strata from the Paraná Basin, southern Brazil. Sequence stratigraphic analysis shows that peat accumulation in Permian time was closely linked to transgressive/regressive cycles, with peat accumulation occurring in a predominantly back barrier/lagoonal setting.

Coal petrographic analysis indicates subbituminous coals at Candiota and Leão-Butiá and high volatile bituminous coals at Santa Terezinha, where locally the coal seams are thermally altered by volcanic intrusions. Petrographic composition is highly variable, with seams at Candiota and Santa Terezinha frequently enriched in inertinite.

Chemical analyses indicate that all coals are mineral matter-rich (mean 49.09 wt.%), with SiO2 and Al2O3 dominating as determined by ICP-AES. Quartz is also the predominant mineral detected by X-ray diffraction, where it is associated with feldspar, kaolinite and hematite and iron-rich carbonates. The results from Scanning Electron Microscopy are broadly consistent with the bulk chemical and mineralogical analysis. Quartz and clays are common in all samples analyzed. Other minerals observed were, amongst others, carbonates (calcite, siderite, ankerite), pyrite, monazite, kaolinite, barite, sphalerite, rutile and quartz of volcanic origin.

The distribution of trace elements is well within the range typical for coal basins of other areas despite the fact that the Paraná Basin coals are very high in ash yields. The average concentrations for elements of environmental concern (As, B, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Hg, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Tl, U, V, Zn) are similar to or less than the mean values for U.S. coal. However, considered on an equal energy basis, Paraná Basin coals will produce in combustion 5 to 10 times the amount of most elements compared to an equal weight US coal.

Concentrations of major and trace elements, such as Fe, B and S, appear to be controlled by depositional setting, with increasing values in coal seams overlain by brackish/marine strata.

Hierarchical cluster analysis identified three groups of major minerals and seven groups of trace elements based on similarity levels. On a regional scale, the coalfields can be separated by the differences in rank (Candiota and Leão-Butiá versus Santa Terezinha) and by applying discriminant analysis based on 4 trace elements (Li, As, Sr, Sb). Highest Rb and Sr values occur at Candiota and are linked to syngenetic volcanism of the area, whereas high Y and Sr values at Santa Terezinha can be related to the frequent diabase intrusions in that area.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Petrology and chemistry of Permian coals from the Paraná Basin: 1. Santa Terezinha, Leão-Butiá and Candiota Coalfields, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Series title International Journal of Coal Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.coal.2005.10.006
Volume 68
Issue 1-2 SPEC. ISS.
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Description 38 p.
First page 79
Last page 116
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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