WVGES Trace Minerals in West Virginia Coals

Click Here To Go To Trace Elements Framed Home Page Zircon (Zr): Zirconium Silicate (ZrSiO4)

Zircon is a minor mineral occurring in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks which is highly resistant to weathering.  Zircon in coal is of detrital origin, and was likely introduced into the coal forming swamp as SEM photomicrograph of 10 micron zircon grain in shale partingextremely small waterborne and windblown grains.  Zircon has also been shown to occur in volcanic ash deposits in Fire Clay coal in West Virginia and other coals worldwide 1,2,3,4.  Zircon was observed in 23 of 24 coal samples in an unpublished study using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) at the WVGES.  The 10 micron zircon grain shown in this SEM image of coal is in a shale parting in coal composed of clay minerals of detrital origin and the zircon is very likely to be of detrital origin. (Dots at the bottom of the photograph are each 10 µm apart.)

    1.    Blake, B.M. et al., (1994)
    2.    Rice, C.L. et al., (1994)
    3.    Lyons, P.C., et al., (1992)
    4.    Hower, J.C. et al., (1999)
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