Geologic Distribution: Mean whole coal terbium in West Virginia coals was 0.26 ppm. Terbium did not statistically correlate with ash yield, total sulfur or pyritic sulfur but correlated well with other REE such as europium (Eu), samarium (Sm), ytterbium (Yb), lutetium (Lu), scandium (Sc), cerium (Ce), thorium (Th), lanthanum (La) and lead (Pb). Terbium was generally low (<0.5 ppm) in most West Virginia coals with slightly higher Tb in coals of the Pocahontas and lower New River Formations and low Tb in Conemaugh and Monongahela Group coals, especially the Pittsburgh, Redstone and Sewickley. Highest terbium coal samples were generally confined to the southern part of West Virginia, but low Tb coals were distributed statewide.
Economic Impact: Terbium in coal is of no economic importance. Terbium has very few economic uses except in color TV tubes as a green phosphor, and in solid state electronics 2.
Environmental Impact: Toxicity of rare earth elements including terbium are little understood, but appear to have no environmental impact in coal mining or utilization 1.
1. Swaine, D.J., (1990)
2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
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