Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Lefticariu, Liliana

Second Advisor

Esling, Steven

Third Advisor

Hummer, Daniel


Coal has been an important natural resource of energy in the Illinois Basin for generations. In addition to the organic macerals in coal, there is inorganic matter containing minerals and trace elements. With growing demand for economic and critical metals including Rare Earth Elements and Yttrium (REY), coals containing anomalously high concentrations of trace elements, as well as their associated coal mine wastes, and drainages have been explored as promising secondary resources, but there were no former studies of REY in Illinois basin CMD. CMD samples were collected from 35 abandoned coal mine sites from three regions of the Illinois basin. Region 1 (R1) the southern extent of the basin extending west along the cottage grove fault system and includes Hicks dome, a nexus of regional hydrothermal activity and provenance of the Illinois Kentucky Fluorite District (IKFD) ore deposits; Region 2 (R2) comprised locations situated in western Illinois along the Du Quoin Monocline; and Region 3 (R3) comprised locations situated in northern Illinois, farthest from the Hicks Dome. Two hypotheses were tested in this study: (1) that pH and ΣREY would share an inverse correlation, with the greatest abundances of REY found in the most acidic drainages; and (2) hydrothermal activity associated with Hicks Dome in southern Illinois was the source of REY enrichment in the coals, and so, REY abundance and pattern would reflect proximity to the cryptoexplosive complex, with the greatest enrichments expected in R1, closest to Hicks Dome. The geochemical data of 42 CMD samples was examined was analyzed to test these two ii hypotheses. Samples ranged from extremely acidic (pH=1.93) to circumneutral (pH=7.6) with an average pH value of 3.4. Total REY values (ΣREY) averaged 1,057 μg/L across all samples and ranged from 0.4-9,879 μg/L while Σcritical-REY abundances (Nd, Eu, Tb, Dy, and Y) averaged 611 μg/L and ranged from 0.2-7,213 μg/L. Furthermore, there are significant direct correlations of ΣREY with Al, Si, SO4, Zn, Ni, Cu, Cd, Co and no correlations with Fe, Ca, P, Ba, and V. In the course of investigation, it was found that pH and linear concentration values for REY correlate poorly. However, logarithmic values of REY concentrations (i.e., log[ΣREY]), as well as the above trace metals have strong inverse correlations with pH( (r=- 0.84, p




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