This study focuses on ascertaining controlling factors and differences on mineralogical and elemental contents for reconstructing palaeoenvironmental conditions of both seams applying standard coal characteristics, mineralogical, coal-petrologic, and elemental data of the Orhaneli coalfield. The studied coalfield, one of the important coalfields in NW Turkey, includes two workable coal seams, the lower with 0.5–2 m and the upper with 5–6 m in thickness, which are separated by 2–5 m thick, grayish-green limnic claystone. The floor rocks of the both seams are limnic claystones, whereas the roof rock of the upper seam is the tuffite layers-bearing lacustrine marls. Matrix and xylite-rich lithotypes are common in the upper seam, while alternations of xylite-clayey bands (detro-xylite and xylo-detritic) are common in the lower seam. The lower seam is also characterized with the presence of altered tuff layers, while freshwater gastropod shell-bearing bands were identified from the upper seam. Even though the banding character and maceral composition of the coals were invariant between the seams, there are distinct differences in mineralogy and elemental composition, that can be related to the nature of the clastic sediment influx and contemporary volcanic inputs into freshwater forested mires.
The lower seam is characterized by high ash yields (%44.2–64.3, d) and relatively high concentrations of aluminosilicate-affiliated elements and REY (rare earth elements and Y). In contrast, the upper seam has relatively low ash yield, and is slightly enriched B concentration. The B enrichment in the upper seam is presumably controlled by the presence of clay mineral (e.g., illite) and clastic volcanogenic accessory minerals (e.g., apatite). Arsenic is the only enriched element in both seams due to development of anoxic conditions. Although no traceable As was detected from syngenetic framboidal pyrite grains, the contemporary volcanic inputs (e.g., air-fall ash/tephra) along with leached surface waters into palaeomires might be source for As, while the development of anoxic conditions palaeomires could cause formation of syngenetic pyrite grains. Thus, the As concentrations of the studied samples are elevated. Nevertheless, the difference on ash yields and mineralogical compositions between studied seams might be related with different clastic influx ratios and contemporary volcanic inputs, in turn, aluminosilicate affiliated elements display different concentration coefficients (CC) values in the studied seams, and high B concentrations that are not expectable for a limnic coal Besides, enrichment of Cr, V and Ni in the upper seam are controlled by clastic V-bearing chromite grains from Orhaneli chromite deposit in the adjacent area. Furthermore, the contemporary volcanic inputs into the palaeomire of the lower seam, and their alteration under anoxic conditions caused REY enrichment and the formation of kaolinite and smectite matrices of clay aggregates in coal and altered tuff layers in this seam.