Skip Navigation

Southeastern Kansas Coals

Prev Page--Utilization || Next Page--Plate 1


Summary and Conclusions

The petrographic as well as the chemical and physical properties of the Mineral and Bevier coals of southeastern Kansas have been described in detail. Correlations which have been established are significant in the more effective utilization of the coals. The results of the study are summarized below.

(1) The average proximate chemical analysis (moisture- and ash-free basis) of the Mineral coal is 14,980 B.t.u., 5.1 percent sulfur, and 58.7 percent fixed carbon. The average ash content is 13.4 percent (moisture-free basis). The coal is remarkably uniform in composition. It is a high volatile A bituminous coal (A.S.T.M. rank designation) and should make a fair coke except for the high sulfur content. The average analysis of the Bevier coal is 14,690 B.t.u., 3.9 percent sulfur, 57.1 percent fixed carbon, and 17.7 percent ash. The rank and coking qualities are similar to those of the Mineral coal.

(2) The coals exhiibt a small, systematic regional variation in fixed carbon content which may be related to geologic structure. Fixed carbon increases from southwest to northeast.

(3) The coals were analyzed petrographically. They are finely banded attrital coals in which the anthraxylon bands do not exceed 5 mm in width, fusain is conspicuous, and opaque attritus is a relatively minor constituent. The types of coal and the percentage of components have been shown graphically for 22 column samples. The coals are bright coals which may contain thin bands of splint or semisplint coal near the top or bottom of the bed. The Mineral coal contains an average of 30.2 percent anthraxylon, 60.1 percent translucent attritus, 3.2 percent opaque attritus, and 6.9 percent fusain. The Bevier contains 37.9 percent anthraxylon, 49.2 percent translucent attritus, 5.9 percent opaque attritus, and 13.1 percent fusain.

(4) The opaque constituents of the coal are difficult to identify due to a gradational relation with other constituents. The process which produces opacity in bituminous coals is uncertain. However, study of Kansas coals indicates that (a) the process (here called fusinization ) which produces fusain may act upon any of the plant materials and the resulting degree of opacity is dependent upon the intensity and duration of the process, and (b) fusinization is operative in the early stages of coalification and may be local in nature.

(5) The ribbon transect method of analysis can be used for the comparison of column samples of coal. There are, however, a number of serious disadvantages, (a) The differences between anthraxylon and attritus, as well as between opaque attritus and fusain, are based on arbitrary critical size limits. Since the differences are of a more fundamental nature, they should be denned by significant chemical or physical criteria, (b) Another basis for differentiation is opacity. There are no critical limits for distinguishing opacity which is a function of the degree of fusinization, the thickness of the section, and the kind of illumination. Although it is difficult to cut coal sections to uniform thickness, standard illumination should be denned, (c) The term "opaque attritus" is misleading in those places where its gradation to anthraxylon is obvious, (d) Fusain is classified largely on the basis of its open cell structure. In those cases where the open spaces have not been supported by mineral matter, the crushed fusain resembles opaque attritus. Much fusain has undoubtedly been classified as opaque attritus. (e) The type classifications in current usage are not completely adequate. The results of petrographic analysis will be more reliable when a satisfactory classification has been devised.

(6) The essential mineral constituents of Kansas coals are calcite and pyrite. Aragonite, marcasite, sphalerite, quartz, apatite, and clay minerals are lesser constituents. Calcite occurs in cleats and fractures in the coal as well as in the open spaces of fusain. It is also the impregnating agent of "coal balls." Pyrite is found disseminated in the attrital material and replacing calcite and plant material.

(7) The relation of petrographic composition to coal utilization shows that there is a linear relation between the sum of anthraxylon plus fusain and the friability of the coal. On the basis of the percentage of opaque constituents, it is possible to predict the probable amenability of the coals to hydrogenation. Except for the high ash content, the coals should hydrogenate readily. Since most of the mineral matter in the coals is finely disseminated and intimately associated with the coal, it is doubtful that a low-ash concentrate is economically feasible. Ash determinations on two of the float fractions from 1.70 specific gravity separation show reductions in ash of 45 and 26 percent respectively.

References

Abernathy, G. E. (1937) The Cherokee group of southeastern Kansas: Kansas Geol. Soc., Guidebook 11th Ann. Field Conf., pp. 18-23.

Abernathy, G. E. (1938) Cyclic sedimentation of the Cherokee: Kansas Acad. Sci. Trans., vol. 41, pp. 193-197.

Abernathy, G. E. (1944) Mined areas of the Weir-Pittsburg coal bed: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 52, pt. 5, pp. 213-228.

Abernathy, G. E. (1946) Strip-mined areas in the Southeastern Kansas coal field: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 64, pt. 4, pp. 125-144.

Abernathy, G. E., Jewett, J. M., and Schoewe, W. H. (1947) Coal reserves in Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 70, pt. 1, pp. 1-20. [available online]

American Society for Testing Materials (1938) American standard specifications for classification of coals by rank: Am. Soc. for Testing Materials, Philadelphia, Pa., pt. 3, pp. 1-6.

Bergius, F. (1926) The transformation of coal into oil by means of hydrogenation: Proc. 1st. Internatl. Conf. Bituminous Coal, Carnegie Inst. Technol., pp. 102-131.

Bowsher, A. L., and Jewett, J.M. (1943) Coal resources of the Douglas group in east-central Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 46, pp. 1-94. [available online]

Buerger, M. J. (1934) The pyrite-marcasite relation: Am. Mineralogist, vol. 19, pp. 37-61.

Cady, G. H. (1942) Modern concepts of the physical constitution of coal: Jour. Geology, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 337-356.

Cady, G. H. (1945) Coal-petrography: Chemistry of Coal Utilization, John Wiley & Sons, New York, vol. 1, pp. 86-131.

Davis, J. D., and Younkins, J. A. (1929) Electrostatic method for determining fusain in bituminous coal: Fuel in Sci. and Practice, vol. 8, pp. 438-440.

Dawson, J. W. (1859) On the vegetable structures in coal: Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc. London, vol. 15, pp. 626-641.

Dreyer, R. M. (1947) Magnetic survey of southeastern Crawford County, Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 70, pt. 5, pp. 107-115.

Duparque, A. (1933) Structure microscopic des charbons du bassin houiller du Nord et du Pas de Calais: Mem. Soc. Geol. Nord, vol. 11, pt. 1, pp. 35-51.

Fieldner, A. C., and Schmidt, L. D. (1941) Annual report of research and technologic work on coal: U.S. Bur. Mines, Information Circ. 7190, pp. 1-60.

Fisher, C. H., and others (1942) Hydrogenation and liquefaction of coal, part 2: U. S. Bur. Mines, Tech. Paper 642, pp. 1-162.

Gauger, A. W. (1936) Coal and its mineral matter with reference to carbonization: Pennsylvania State College Min. Industries Exper. Sta., Tech. Paper 28, pp. 3-11.

Gibbs, H. L., and Evans, L. G. (1950) Improvements in methods for preparing thin sections of rock U. S. Bur. Mines, Rept. Investi. 4711, pp. 1-6.

Haworth, Erasmus, and Crane, W. R. (1898) Special report on coal: Univ. Geol. Survey of Kansas, vol. 3, pp. 1-347.

Head, R. E., and others (1932) Statistical microscopic analysis of mill products of the Copper Queen concentrator of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation: U. S. Bur. Mines, Tech. Paper 533, pp. 1-48.

Hendricks, T. A. (1945) The origin of coal: Chemistry of Coal Utilization, John Wiley & Sons, New York, vol. 1, pp. 1-24.

Hoffmann, E. (1930) Aufberietungstechnische Trennung der petrographischen Kohlenbestandteile: Glückauf 46, pp. 529-540.

Hutton, W. (1833) Observations on coal: London and Edinburgh Philos. Mag. and Jour. Sci., vol. 2, pp. 302-304.

Jewett, J. M., and Schoewe, W. H. (1942) Kansas mineral resources for wartime industries: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 41, pt. 3, pp. 69-180.

Lowrey, H. H. (1942) Relation of the physical constitution of coal to its chemical characteristics: Jour. Geology, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 357-384.

McCabe, L. C. (1936) Concentration of the banded ingredients of Illinois coals by screen sizing and washing: Am. Institute Mining and Metal. Engineers Trans., vol. 119, pp. 321-329.

McCabe, L. C. (1937) Some physical evidences of development of rank in vitrain: Fuel in Sci. and Practice, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 267-286.

McCabe, L. C. (1945) Physical properties of coal: Chemistry of Coal Utilization, John Wiley & Sons, New York, vol. 1, pp. 310-336.

McCabe, L. C., Konzo, S., and Rees, O. W. (1942) Correlation of domestic stoker combustion with laboratory tests and types of fuels, I, Preliminary studies: Illinois Geol. Survey, Rept. Investi. 78, pp. 1-20.

McCartney, J. T. (1949) Electron microscopy of coal: Econ. Geology, vol. 44, no. 7, pp. 617-620.

Moore, R. C. (1936) Stratigraphic classification of Pennsylvanian rocks in Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 22, pp. 1-256.

Moore, R. C., and Landes, K. K. (1913), Underground resources of Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 13, pp. 1-154.

Moore, R. C., and others (1951) The Kansas rock column: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 89, pp. 1-132. [available online]

Muck, F. (1881) Grundzuge und Zeile der Steinkohlen-Chemie: Bonn, Strauss, pp. 1-170.

Parks, B. C., and O'Donnell, H. J. (1948) Determination of petrographic components of coal by examination of thin sections: Am. Institute Mining and Metal. Engineers, Coal Div. Trans., vol. 177, pp. 535-551.

Parr, S. W. (1928) The classification of coal: Univ. Illinois Engr. Exper. Sta., Bull. 180, pp. 1-59.

Pierce, W. G., and Courtier, W. H. (1938) Geology and coal resources of the Southeastern Kansas coal field in Crawford, Cherokee, and Labette Counties: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 24, pp. 1-91.

Raistrick, A., and Marshall, C. E. (1939) The nature and origin of coal seams; English Universities Press, Ltd., London, pp. 1-287.

Rankama, K., and Sahama, T. G. (1950) Geochemistry: Univ. Chicago Press, pp. 1-912.

Roos, G. (1937) Comparative researches on the variation of the constituents of coal of one seam from South Limberg (The Netherlands): Comp. rend. deuxieme congr. l'avance. etudes strat. Carbonifere, Heerlen, 1935 (Maastricht), 11, p. 1100.

Schoewe, W. H. (1944) Coal resources of the Kansas City group, Thayer bed, in eastern Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 52, pt. 3, pp. 81-136. [available online]

Schoewe, W. H. (1946) Coal resources of the Wabaunsee group in eastern Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 63, pp. 1-144. [available online]

Schoewe, W. H. (1951) Coal resources of the Permian System in Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull 90, pt. 3, pp. 53-68. [available online]

Schoewe, W. H. (1952) Coal resources of the Cretaceous System (Dakota formation) in central Kansas: Kansas Geol. Survey, Bull. 96, pt. 2, pp. 69-156. [available online]

Schopf, J. M. (1938) Spores from the Herrin (no. 6) coal bed in Illinois: Illinois Geol. Survey, Rept. Investi. 50, pp. 1-73.

Schopf, J. M. (1948) Discussion of "Determination of the petrographic components of coal by examination of thin sections": Am. Institute Mining and Metal. Engineers, Coal Div. Trans., vol. 177, pp. 551-555.

Schopf, J. M. (1948a) Variable coalification; the process involved in coal formation: Econ. Geology, vol. 43, pp. 207-225.

Schulze, F. (1855) Uber des Verkommenwohlerhaltenes Cellulose im Braunkohle und Steinkohle: Ber. kgl., Berlin, pp. 676-678.

Sprunk, G. C., and others (1940) Splint coals of the Appalachian region, their occurrence, petrography, and comparison of chemical and physical properties with associated bright coals: U.S. Bur. Mines, Tech. Paper 615, pp. 1-59.

Stach, E. (1928) Kohlenpetrographisches Praktikum: Samml. naturw. Prakita, Bd. 14, pp. 1-196, Berlin, Gebr. Borntraeger.

Stanton, F. M., Fieldner, A. C., and Selvig, W. A. (1939) Methods of analyzing coal and coke: U.S. Bur. Mines, Tech. Paper 8, rev. ed., pp. 1-59.

Stopes, M. C. (1919) On the four visible ingredients in banded bituminous coals, Studies in the composition of coals, no. 1: Proc. Roy. Soc. London, vol. 90, pp. 470-487.

Stopes, M. C. (1935) On the petrology of banded bituminous coals: Fuels in Sci. and Practice, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 4-13.

Stopes, M. C., and Wheeler, R. V. (1923) Spontaneous combustion of coal in relation to its composition and structure: Fuels in Sci. and Practice, vol. 2, pp. 83-92.

Storch, H. H., and others (1941) Hydrogenation and liquefaction of coal, Part 1: U.S. Bur. Mines, Tech. Paper, 622, pp. 1-110.

Thiessen, Reinhardt (1920) Compilation and composition of bituminous coals: Jour. Geology, vol. 28, pp. 185-209.

Thiessen, Reinhardt (1947) What is coal?: U.S. Bur. Mines, Information Circ. 7397, pp. 1-53.

Thiessen, Reinhardt, and Sprunk, G. C., (1936) The origin of the finely divided or granular opaque matter in splint coals: Fuel, vol. 15, pp. 304-315.

Thiessen, Reinhardt, Sprunk, G. C., and O'Donnell, H. J. (1938) Preparation of thin sections of coal: U.S. Bur. Mines, Information Circ. 7021, pp. 1-8.

Von Gumble, C. W. (1883) Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Textureverhaltnisse der Mineralkohlen: Sitzungsber. kgl. bayr. Acad. Wissensch. (München), vol. 13, pp. 111-216.

White, David, and Thiessen, Reinhardt (1914) The origin of coal: U. S. Bur. Mines, Bull. 38, pp. 1-378.

Winter, H. (1923) The examination of coal in reflected light: Fuels in Sci. and Practice, vol. 2, pp. 78-82.

Witham, H. T. M. (1833) On the internal structure of fossil vegetables found in the Carboniferous and oolitic deposits of Great Britain: Black, Edinburgh, pp. 1-84.

Young, C. M., and Allen, H. C. (1925) Kansas coal: Kansas Univ. Bull. 26, no. 5, Engr. Bull. 13, pp. 1-202.


Prev Page--Utilization || Next Page--Plate 1

Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web November 2005; originally published May 1953.
Comments to webadmin@kgs.ku.edu
The URL for this page is http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/Bulletins/102_1/08_summ.html