A comparison was made between the data obtained using the Zeiss image analyser (IBAS) and those obtained by conventional methods, using polished, particulate and blocks of coal. The results obtained by using the two methods are in good agreement.IBAS is an automatic system and reduces the data (reflectance measurement and point count analysis) collecting time substantially, compared with conventional methods. Seam profiles, based on polished blocks, can be constructed rapidly using IBAS to determine the paleoenvironment of coal deposition or the position of macerals resistant to grinding. Also, evaluation and presentation of large numbers of coal samples can be performed in a short time by using polished, particulate blocks.

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