Trace element associations in raw and spent oil shales from the Rundle oil shale complex in Queensland. Environmental implications

M. Glikson, B. W. Chappell, E. Webber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Oil shales because of their unusually high concentrations of trace elements are regarded as causing potential environmental problems. The organic fraction of the oil shales (excluding interlayered coal) of the Rundle complex (all Eocene organic-rich fresh-water deposits east of the Great Dividing Range) is composed predominantly of a lipid-rich algal fraction, with a significant contribution from humic acids (humates) of up to 30%. The humic acid fraction, which is seen to fill spaces within the lipid-rich algal framework, has been shown by C-isotope compositions and TEM observations in previous studies1 to be terrigenous, and trace elements present have been shown to be associated with this humic acid fraction. Reflected light microscopy of the spent shale after retorting at 460-500 °C clearly shows the effect of heat on the previously immature low reflectance (< 0.5 R0) vitrinite now with reflectance of 3 % R0. Pyrite mainly in framboidal form seems to have been retained in the spent shale residue occasionally displaying oxidation colours. However unaffected pyrite is present throughout the residue. The latter may pose potential environmental problems should spent shale be left too long unvegetated or untreated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)400-403
    Number of pages4
    JournalFuel
    Volume66
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1987

    Keywords

    • environmental implications
    • oil shales
    • trace elements

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