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Kansas Geological Survey, Current Research in Earth Sciences, Bulletin 240, part 4
Chert Gravel and Neogene Drainage in East-central Kansas--page 11 of 16
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The results of the elemental and chemical analyses and physical tests on Kansas coals are summarized below:
  1. Apparent rank for all southeastern Kansas coal samples ranges from high-volatile A to high-volatile B bituminous coal. Most of the samples in the principal coal-mining area of southeastern Kansas are high-volatile A bituminous coal.

  2. Proximate analyses show the average (arithmetic mean) composition of Kansas coals to be 15.5% ash, 35.3% volatile matter, 45.9% fixed carbon, and 3.3% moisture and the average heat of combustion to be 11,910 Btu/lb. Ultimate analyses show average composition of Kansas coals to be 4.9% hydrogen, 65.3% carbon, 1.2% nitrogen, 5.5% sulfur, and 7.7% oxygen. These Kansas coal samples also contain 3.03% pyritic sulfur, 1.25% organic sulfur, and 0.2% sulfate sulfur (geometric mean).

  3. In Kansas coals, the arsenic, copper, and lead concentrations are significantly higher and the vanadium content is significantly lower than in coals from other areas of the central U.S. Mean concentrations of Ag, Ge, Pb, Zn, and Cd are at least five times higher in southeastern Kansas coals than in U.S. coals as a whole.

  4. Of 31 anomalously high element concentrations, 13 were from the Thayer coal, and nine were from the Dry Wood coal. Those elements having anomalously high occurrences in more than one Kansas coal sample include Be, Cd, F, Na, Sr, U, Y, and Zn.

  5. Zinc concentrations of 51,000 ppm and cadmium concentrations of 160 ppm are among the highest values reported from any coal bed in the U.S.

  6. Sphalerite has been observed in fracture fillings and cleats in coal beds near the location of the samples with high cadmium and zinc concentrations. The presence of zinc and lead ores in the Tri-State mining district within 40 miles (65 km) suggests a similar source for these metals in the Kansas coals.


The data listed in this report are the result of the analytical work by the chemists at the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver under the direction of Claude Huffman and Joseph H. Christie and by the chemical analysts in the Coal Analysis Section of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (now part of the Department of Energy), under the direction of Forrest E. Walker. Cooperation of Clemens Coal Company and Alternate Fuels, Inc., and five companies that are no longer mining coal in Kansas--Bills Coal Company, Fuel Dynamics, Inc., Lamb Coal Company, Wilkinsons, Inc., and Bradbury Brothers Coal Company--is acknowledged for permission to sample coal beds at their mining operations. Field work was assisted by Neal Livingston, typing was by Esther Price and Debbie Douglass, and figures were drafted by Jennifer Sims, all of the Kansas Geological Survey. Assistance in preparing the data tables was provided by Rick T. Hildebrand of the U.S. Geological Survey. Critical review was provided by Ron Affolter, Gary Stricker, Rick Hildebrand, and Lori Filipek of the U.S. Geological Survey, as well as by Michael Hohn and Bill Grady of the West Virginia Geological Survey and Brian Cardott of the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

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Kansas Geological Survey
Web version March 18, 1998