WVGES Trace Elements in West Virginia Coals

Click Here To Go To Trace Elements Framed Home Page BARIUM (Ba)

Barium Stratigraphic DistributionBarium Geographic DistributionBarium Summary Statistics

Barium is a common trace element in coal, abundant in some coals, but of little environmental concern.

Geologic Occurrence: Barium occurs primarily in the mineral barite (BaSO4) in coal.  Barite was found in 9 of 24 West Virginia coals examined by scanning electron microscope in an unpublished study by the WVGES. The  minerals barytocelestine, witherite and gorceixite have also been reported in coals 1.  Isolated high barium values in coal may be related to overlying marine beds.  Barium shows no preferential geographic distribution in coals state-wide.  Statistically, barium averaged 110 ppm on a whole coal basis, and did not correlate with ash yield, total sulfur, pyritic sulfur or other trace elements.

Economic Impact: There are no reports of economic impact of barium in coal.  Barium is used in paint pigment, medical x-ray diagnostics, glass making and a weighting fluid in well drilling 2.

Environmental Impact: No environmental impact of barium in coal has been reported 1.  However, all water soluble barium compounds are poisonous 2.

    1.    Swaine, D.J., (1990)
    2.    CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
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