Geologic Distribution: Rubidium in coal is primarily within the clay minerals illite and mixed-layer clays 1,2. Mean whole coal rubidium in West Virginia coals was 23.62 ppm. Rubidium correlated very highly (r = +0.9135) with cesium (Cs) possibly because of their similar atomic radii, and these elements are known to be closely associated in nature, for example in the mineral pollucite (CsAlSi2O6), which has never been documented in coal 3. These two elements probably substitute for K in ubiquitous clay minerals in coal, thus explaining their lack of stratigraphic or geographic trends in abundance.
Economic Impact: Rubidium in coal has no economic impact. Rubidium is used as a "getter" in vacuum tubes, in photocells, and is used in the manufacture of special glasses 3.
Environmental Impact: Rubidium has no detrimental environmental effects during mining and use 4.
1. Finkelman, R.B., (1981)
2. Palmer, C.A. and Filby, R.H., (1984)
3. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
4. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
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