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Brown coal maceral distributions in a modern domed tropical Indonesian peat and a comparison with maceral distributions in Middle Pennsylvanian–age Appalachian bituminous coal beds

By
William C. Grady
William C. Grady
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Cortland F. Eble
Cortland F. Eble
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Sandra G. Neuzil
Sandra G. Neuzil
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Published:
January 01, 1993

Analyses of modern Indonesian peat samples reveal that the optical characteristics of peat constituents are consistent with the characteristics of macerals observed in brown coal and, as found by previous workers, brown-coal maceral terminology can be used in the analysis of modern peat. A core from the margin and one from near the center of a domed peat deposit in Riau Province, Sumatra, reveal that the volume of huminite macerals representing well-preserved cell structures (red, red-gray, and gray textinite; ulminite; and corpo/textinite) decreases upward. Huminite macerals representing severely degraded (<20 microns) cellular debris (degraded textinite, attrinite, and densinite) increase uniformly from the base to the surface. Greater degradation of the huminite macerals in the upper peat layers in the interior of the deposit is interpreted to be the result of fungal activity that increased in response to increasingly aerobic conditions associated with the doming of the peat deposit. Aerobic conditions concurrent with the activities of fungi may result in incipient oxidation of the severely degraded huminite macerals. This oxidation could lead to the formation of degradosemifusinite, micrinite, and macrinite maceral precursors in the peat, which may become evident only upon coalification. The core at the margin was petrographically more homogeneous than the core from the center and was dominated by well-preserved huminite macerals except in the upper 1 m, which showed signs of aerobic degradation and was similar to the upper 1 m of the peat in the interior of the deposit.

The Stockton and other Middle Pennsylvanian Appalachian coal beds show analogous vertical trends in vitrinite maceral composition. The succession from telocollinite-rich, bright coal lithotypes in the lower benches upward to thin-banded/matrix collinite and desmocollinite in higher splint coal benches is believed to reflect a progression similar to that from the well-preserved textinite macerals in the lower portions of the peat cores to severely fragmented and degraded cellular materials (degraded textinite, attrinite, and densinite) in the upper portions of the cores. This petrographic sequence from bright to splint coal in the Stockton and other Middle Pennsylvanian coal beds supports previous interpretations of an upward transition from planar to domed swamp accumulations.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Modern and Ancient Coal-Forming Environments

James C. Cobb
James C. Cobb
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C. Blaine Cecil
C. Blaine Cecil
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Geological Society of America
Volume
286
ISBN print:
9780813722863
Publication date:
January 01, 1993

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