WVGESTrace Minerals in West Virginia Coals

Click Here To Go To Trace Elements Framed Home Page Xenotime: Yttrium phosphate (YPO4)

Xenotime is a trace mineral occurring in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks which is resistant to Scanning Electron Microscope photograph of xenotime in coalweathering and is concentrated in some beach sands.  Xenotime in coal is probably detrital in origin, having been introduced into the coal forming swamp as extremely small waterborne and windblown grains.  Xenotime is known to have formed in sedimentary rocks, and may also have formed in coal as an authigenic mineral precipitated from dissolved ions in the peat waters into voids as the peat formed.  Xenotime was observed in 13 of 24 coal samples in an unpublished study using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) at the WVGES. The one micron xenotime grain shown in this SEM image of coal is located within a small pocket of clay minerals of detrital origin and is very likely of detrital origin. (Dots at the bottom of the photograph are each 10 µm apart.) Xenotime age dating has recently been discovered as a way of accurately dating sedimentary rocks, but the size and rare occurrence of xenotime in coal would make such a use doubtful.
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