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Open-File Report 2007-1090

Selenium Concentrations in Middle Pennsylvanian Coal-Bearing Strata in the Central Appalachian Basin

By Sandra G. Neuzil, Frank T. Dulong, C. Blaine Cecil, Nick Fedorko, John J. Renton, and D. K. Bhumbla

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Introduction.—This report provides the results of a reconnaissance-level investigation of selenium (Se) concentrations in Middle Pennsylvanian coal-bearing strata in the central Appalachian basin. Bryant and others (2002) reported enrichments of Se concentrations in streams draining areas disturbed by surface mining relative to Se concentrations in streams that drain undisturbed areas; the study was conducted without the benefit of data on Se concentrations in coal-bearing strata prior to anthropogenic disturbance. Thus, the present study was conducted to provide data on Se concentrations in coal-bearing strata prior to land disturbance. The principal objectives of this work are: 1) determine the stratigraphic and regional distribution of Se concentrations in coal-bearing strata, 2) provide reconnaissance-level information on relations, if any, between Se concentrations and lithology (rock-type), and 3) develop a cursory evaluation of the leachability of Se from disturbed strata. The results reported herein are derived from analyses of samples obtained from three widely-spaced cores that were collected from undisturbed rock within a region that has been subjected to extensive land disturbance principally by either coal mining or, to a lesser extent, highway construction. The focus was on low-organic-content lithologies, not coal, within the coal-bearing interval, as these lithologies most commonly make up the fill materials after coal mining or in road construction.

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