Tellurium enrichment in Jurassic coal, Brora, Scotland

Liam Bullock, John Parnell, Magali Perez, Joerg Feldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
197 Downloads (Pure)


Mid-Jurassic pyritic coals exposed at the village of Brora, northern Scotland, UK, contain a marked enrichment of tellurium (Te) relative to crustal mean, average world coal compositions and British Isles Carboniferous coals. The Te content of Brora coal pyrite is more than one order of magnitude higher than in sampled pyrite of Carboniferous coals. The Te enrichment coincides with selenium (Se) and mercury (Hg) enrichment in the rims of pyrite, and Se/Te is much lower than in pyrites of Carboniferous coals. Initial pyrite formation is attributed to early burial (syn-diagenesis), with incorporation of Te, Se, Hg and lead (Pb) during later pyrite formation. The source of Te may have been a local hydrothermal system which was responsible for alluvial gold (Au) in the region, with some Au in Brora headwaters occurring as tellurides. Anomalous Te is not ubiquitous in coal, but may occur locally, and is detectable by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS).
Original languageEnglish
Article number231
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: Funding provided by NERC Security of Supply programme (grant NE/L001764/1).
The authors wish to thank three anonymous reviewers for their comments.


  • tellurium
  • coal
  • pyrite
  • Jurassic
  • selenium


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