Saturday, June 20, 2015

Coal and organic petrology bibliographic and information resources

            Back in 2002 at the annual AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) meeting in Houston, I hosted an exhibit booth for The Society for Organic Petrology (TSOP). It surprised me that not once, but at least twice, graduate students came up to me and said how much they appreciated the TSOP online bibliography of coal/organic petrology, geology, utilization articles. The students were from schools with limited organic petrology programs or library resources and found the TSOP bibliography invaluable.

            So, as we get into the summer when many graduate students or junior-senior undergraduate students may be concentrating on research rather than classes, here are some organic petrology resources.

Online bibliography:

TSOP reference list: Over 2200 citations which can be browsed by category and available to download into EndNote. AMENDMENT, May 1, 2016: TSOP bibliography list is now a downloadable Excel list of over 6200 entries (=rows) at Column A is a topic, Column B is the reference. I think some citations may be repeated if they cover multiple topics.

Online photomicrograph atlases:

US Geological Survey Organic Petrology Photomicrograph Atlas: (Lots of photos of macerals in coal and those in oil and gas shales.)

Crelling’s Petrographic Atlas of Coals and Carbons: (includes flyash and chars, cokes)

Indiana Geological Survey Atlas of Coal Macerals:


Available in various formats: Hardcover, paperback, or e-book. This list is not comprehensive, but include classics or my favorites.

Organic Petrology by Taylor, G.H., Teichmüller, M., Davis, A., Diessel, C.F.K., Littke, R., Robert, P., 1998: Gebrüder Borntraeger, Berlin, 704 pages. (This is the successor to Stach’s Textbook of Coal Petrology, 1982, 3rd ed., by Stach, E., Mackowsky, M.-Th., Teichmüller,  M., Taylor, G.H., Chandra, D., Teichmüller, R., Murchison, D.G., and Zierke, F., eds., Gebruder Borntraeger, Berlin, 535 p.)

Petroleum Formation and Occurrence (2nd. ed.) by B.P. Tissot and D.H. Welte, 1984, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 699 pages. Not organic petrology, but much on kerogen chemical evolution in the formation of petroleum.

Sedimentary organic matter by Richard V. Tyson, 1995, Chapman & Hall, London, 615 pages. Excellent comprehensive book on particulate organic matter with beautiful photos.

A Petrographic Atlas of Canadian Coal Macerals and Dispersed Organic Matter  by Judith Potter, Lavern Stasiuk, and Alexander Cameron (eds.) (, available from Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary; now available on CD).

Coal-bearing Depositional Systems by Claus F. K. Diessel, 1992, Springer Verlag, 721 pages.

Coal Geology  by Larry Thomas, 2012 (2nd ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, 454 pages. This includes coal origin and petrology, but also exploration, mining, utilization, and environmental issues.

Applied Coal Petrology: The role of petrology in coal utilization by Isabel Suárez-Ruiz and John Crelling, 2008, Elsevier, 388 pages. Petrographic characterization for predicting behavior in various industrial processes like coke-making (steel industry), combustion, carbonization.

Professional scientific societies or society divisions whose activities concentrate on or include organic petrology (=petrography and geochemistry of coal and sedimentary organic matter including petroleum source rocks). TSOP, AAPG, GSA offer student research grant opportunities:

The Society for Organic Petrology (TSOP;; besides the references page, there is a webpage with good links to other organic petrology-related sites:

The International Committee on Coal and Organic Petrology (ICCP;; this society is the governing organization for coal petrology terminology and organic petrographer accreditation)

The Canadian Society for Coal Science and Organic Petrology (

Energy Geology Division, Geological Society of America (formerly the Coal Geology Division) (; besides the general GSA student research grant programs, this division administers two specific research grants)

Energy Minerals Division (AAPG) (; does include uranium)

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