Sampled outcrops of Permian coal seams of the Bainmedart Coal Measures in the Lambert Graben, eastern Antarctica, have been analysed for their proximates, ultimates, ash constituents and trace elements. A similar series of samples has been analysed for their principle maceral and microlithotype components and vitrinite reflectance. The coals are sub-bituminous to high volatile bituminous in rank; maturity increases markedly in southern exposures around Radok Lake where the oldest part of the succession is exposed and some strata have been intruded by mafic dykes and ultramafic sills. The coal ash is mostly silica and aluminium oxides, indicating that the mineral ash component is mostly quartz and various clay minerals. The ratio of silica to aluminium oxides appears to increase in an upward stratigraphic direction. The coal macerals include a relatively high liptinite content (mainly sporinite) that is significantly higher than for typical Gondwana coals. Greater degrees of weathering within the floodbasin/peat mire environments associated with climatic drying towards the end of the Permian might account for both preferential sporopollenin preservation and increased silica:aluminium oxide ratios up-section. Correlation of the coal maceral components to adjacent peninsula India coals indicates the closest comparative coals of similar age and rank occur within the Godavari Basin, rather then the Mahanadi Basin, which is traditionally interpreted to have been contiguous with the Lambert Graben before Gondwanan breakup. The petrological characteristics suggest that either previous interpretations of Palaeozoic basin alignments between Antarctica and India are incorrect, or that environmental settings and post-Permian burial histories of these basins were strongly independent of their tectonic juxtaposition. A permineralized peat bed within the succession reveals that the coals predominantly comprise wood- and leaf-rich debris derived from low-diversity forest-mire communities dominated by glossopterid and noeggerathiopsid gymnosperms. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Inorganic chemistry, petrography and palaeobotany of Permian coals in the Prince Charles Mountains, East Antarctica