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The Middle Pennsylvanian Fire Clay tonstein, mostly kaolinite and minor accessory minerals, is an altered and lithified volcanic ash preserved as a thin, isochronous layer associated with the Fire Clay coal bed. Seven samples of the tonstein, taken along a 300-km traverse of the central Appalachian basin, contain cogenetic phenocrysts and trapped silicate-melt inclusions of a rhyolitic magma. The phenocrysts include beta-form quartz, apatite, zircon, sanidine, pyroxene, amphibole, monazite, garnet, biotite, and various sulfides. An inherited component of the zircons (determined from U-Pb isotope analyses) provides evidence that the source of the Fire Clay ash was Middle Proterozoic (Grenvillian) continental...

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