Abstract

Proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) microanalysis is shown to be capable of semiquantitative to quantitative standardless determination of trace element abundances in coal macerals and sulfides using an internal normalization protocol. PIXE spectra are quantified using a least-squares data reduction method by normalization to S determined by electron microprobe in macerals and to Fe determined by mineral stoichiometry in Fe sulfides. Application of the PIXE technique to vitrinite macerals and Fe sulfides from channel samples of the Lower Kittanning Coal Bed of western Pennsylvania suggests that Ni, Cu, As, Se, Mo, and Pb are associated with Fe sulfides and Cl, Ca, Ti, Ge, Ga, and Br are associated with vitrinite macerals. Organic S is higher in marine-influenced macerals within the Lower Kittanning coal. Similarly, As/Se and Mo/Se are higher within Fe sulfides from the marine-influenced coals. Devolatilization of coal beds may be a plausible source of complexing ions and metals for ore deposit formation. Such fluids may be characterized by low Cl/Br relative to most hydrothermal fluids.

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