Characterization of coal particles in the soil of a former rail yard and urban brownfield: Liberty State Park, Jersey City (NJ), USA

Diane F. Hagmann, Michael A. Kruge, Nina M. Goodey, Jennifer Adams Krumins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


From the 1850's until the 1960's, the Central Railroad of New Jersey was among several major railways shipping anthracite and bituminous coal to the New York City area, transferring coal from railcar to barge at its extensive rail yard and port facility in Jersey City. The 490 ha Liberty State Park was developed on the site after the rail yard closed, but a ca. 100 ha brownfield zone within the park remains off limits to visitors pending future remediation. As part of an environmental forensic and industrial archeological investigation of this zone, the present study characterizes anthracite and bituminous coal particles present in abundance in the soil by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and pyrolysis-gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (Py-GC–MS). A simple pretreatment procedure employing density separation improved the analytical results. This detailed information about the nature of contaminants at the site will help to inform the remediation effort in the public interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103328
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020



  • Brownfield remediation
  • Coal
  • Density separation
  • Environmental forensics
  • Liberty State Park
  • Pyrolysis-gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (Py-GC–MS)

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