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Título : Geochemical study of products associated with spontaneous oxidation of coal in the Cerro Pelado Formation, Venezuela
Autor : Martínez, Manuel
Márquez, Gonzalo
Alejandre, Ferdinand
Hurtado, Aisha
Palabras clave : Bituminous coal
northwestern Venezuela
Spontaneous oxidation
Ammonium thiosulfate
Clinker material
Fumarolic mineralizations
Fecha de publicación : 26-Mar-2014
Citación : Journal of South American Earth Sciences;27 (2009) 211–218
Resumen : The aim of this research work is a geochemical, mineralogical, and textural characterization of spontaneously smouldered coal-derived products in northwestern Venezuela (Cerro Pelado Formation, some 10 km from Pedregal city). Several solid samples were collected from this formation, six of unweathering coal, an other six of resulting unmelted rocks forming on a surface coal bed, and the last four of mineralizations found accumulating around gas vents. The fresh coal and the unmelted material were analysed by scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and proximate techniques. Products such as magnetite and chabazite-K were identified in the alteration rocks. Likewise, both materials were also studied in order to determine the mobilization of 17 elements into the environment; such elements were analysed through inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy on extracts obtained by a sequential extraction method: each sample was firstly extracted with MilliQ water and then the resultant residue was washed. This and the subsequently resulting residues are extracted according to the mentioned procedure by using, respectively, ammonium acetate, chlorhydric acid, peroxide and chlorhydric acid, nitric acid and fluorhydric acid, and nitric acid. The studied elements are classified as highly mobile (Na, Ni, ...), nearly immobile (Ti, P) and partially mobile (Mg, Fe, K, ...). In regards to mineralizations around fumaroles associated with smoldering coal seams, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction analyses have revealed the presence of salammoniac, mascagnite and other solid combustion compounds formed by reaction of gas emitted from coal oxidation, in addition to previously non-reported sulfur-rich by-products associated with gas fissures, particularly ammonium thiosulfate, a phase first obtained only synthetically in the laboratory. Another objective of the research was to collect and analyse gases escaping from surficial vents. Relatively high concentrations of several aromatic compounds were detected in the gas collected at the studied coal outcrop, as well as aliphatic hydrocarbons including ethane, propane, butanes, among others. High contents of carbon monoxide, methane and carbon dioxide were also measured for gas samples.
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