Depositional setting, petrology and chemistry of Permian coals from the Paraná Basin: 2. South Santa Catarina Coalfield, Brazil

International Journal of Coal Geology
By: , and 



In Brazil economically important coal deposits occur in the southern part of the Paraná Basin, where coal seams occur in the Permian Rio Bonito Formation, with major coal development in the states of Rio Grande de Sul and Santa Catarina. The current paper presents results on sequence stratigraphic interpretation of the coal-bearing strata, and petrological and geochemical coal seam characterization from the South Santa Catarina Coalfield, Paraná Basin.

In terms of sequence stratigraphic interpretation the precursor mires of the Santa Catarina coal seams formed in an estuarine-barrier shoreface depositional environment, with major peat accumulation in a high stand systems tract (Pre-Bonito and Bonito seams), a lowstand systems tract (Ponta Alta seam, seam A, seam B) and a transgressive systems tract (Irapuá, Barro Branco and Treviso seams).

Seam thicknesses range from 1.70 to 2.39 m, but high proportions of impure coal (coaly shale and shaley coal), carbonaceous shale and partings reduce the net coal thickness significantly. Coal lithoypes are variable, with banded coal predominant in the Barro Branco seam, and banded dull and dull coal predominantly in Bonito and Irapuá seams, respectively. Results from petrographic analyses indicate a vitrinite reflectance range from 0.76 to 1.63 %Rrandom (HVB A to LVB coal). Maceral group distribution varies significantly, with the Barro Branco seam having the highest vitrinite content (mean 67.5 vol%), whereas the Irapuá seam has the highest inertinite content (33.8 vol%). Liptinite mean values range from 7.8 vol% (Barro Branco seam) to 22.5 vol% (Irapuá seam).

Results from proximate analyses indicate for the three seams high ash yields (50.2 – 64.2 wt.%). Considering the International Classification of in-Seam Coals, all samples are in fact classified as carbonaceous rocks (> 50 wt.% ash). Sulfur contents range from 3.4 to 7.7 wt.%, of which the major part occurs as pyritic sulfur. Results of X-ray diffraction indicate the predominance of quartz and kaolinite (also pyrite). Gypsumgibbsitejarosite and calcite were also identified in some samples. Feldspar was noted but is rare. The major element distribution in the three seams (coal basis) is dominated by SiO2 (31.3 wt.%, mean value), Al2O3 (14.5 wt.%, mean value) and Fe2O3 (6.9 wt.%, mean value). Considering the concentrations of trace elements that are of potential environmental hazards the Barro Branco, Bonito and Irapuá seams (coal base) are significantly enriched in Co (15.7 ppm), Cr (54.5 ppm), Li (59.3 ppm), Mn (150.4 ppm), Pb (58.0 ppm) and V (99.6 ppm), when compared to average trace elements contents reported for U. S. coals.

Hierarchical cluster analysis identified, based on similarity levels, three groups of major elements and seven groups of trace elements. Applying discriminant analyses using trace and major element distribution, it could be demonstrated that the three seams from Santa Catarina show distinct populations in the discriminant analyses plots, and also differ from the coals of Rio Grande do Sul analyzed in a previous study.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Depositional setting, petrology and chemistry of Permian coals from the Paraná Basin: 2. South Santa Catarina Coalfield, Brazil
Series title International Journal of Coal Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.coal.2010.08.008
Volume 84
Issue 3-4
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Description 24 p.
First page 213
Last page 236
Country Brazil
State Santa Catarina
Other Geospatial Parana Basin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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