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Southeastern Kansas Coals

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Petrographic Study of Southeastern Kansas Coals

by William W. Hambleton

Cover of the book; black text on tan-gray paper.

Originally published in 1953 as Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 102, Part 1. This online version has been created because the published version is currently out of print. This is, in general, the original text as published in 1953. The information has not been updated. An Acrobat PDF version (14 MB) is also available.


As a coal state, Kansas ranks 16th in the nation, producing about $8,000,000 worth of coal annually. Most of the coal is produced from rocks of Pennsylvanian age in southeastern Kansas. Because most of these coals are thin and considerable overburden must be removed in mining them, effective utilization is important. Coal petrography, a branch of geology dealing with the constitution of coal as determined with the microscope, has contributed greatly to a better understanding of the nature of coal and has supplied much information concerning coal utilization. This report represents data on the petrographic constitution of the Mineral, Croweburg, and Bevier coals of southeastern Kansas and correlates these data with coal utilization.

A summary of coal classifications and petrographic techniques is followed by a description of the lithology and chemical composition of the coals. The coals were analyzed by a petrographic evaluation of several coal components (anthraxylon, attritus, and fusain) from 400 thin sections and 22 column samples. The results are summarized in bar diagrams which show that the coals are relatively uniform in petrographic composition and are characterized by a high content of finely banded translucent attrital material. The occurrence and distribution of mineral matter is described.

The petrographic composition is related to several chemical and physical properties which affect coal utilization. Particular consideration is given to the friability of the coals and to their amenability to hydrogenation. The effect of the mineral matter on the preparation of a low ash coal concentrate is also discussed.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web November 2005; originally published May 1953.
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