Temporal Changes in Coal-bearing Depositional Sequences (Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian) of the Central Appalachian Basin, U.S.A.
Stephen F. Greb, Donald R. Chesnut, Jr., Cortland F. Eble, 2004. "Temporal Changes in Coal-bearing Depositional Sequences (Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian) of the Central Appalachian Basin, U.S.A.", Sequence Stratigraphy, Paleoclimate, and Tectonics of Coal-Bearing Strata, Jack C. Pashin, Robert A. Gastaldo
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Middle Pennsylvanian coal-measure sequences of the eastern Kentucky coal field, central Appalachian basin, occur in ordered groupings of five to six fourth-order coal-clastic cycles, between third-order marine flooding surfaces. Lower Pennsylvanian coal measures also are present, but are laterally truncated by at least four, 60舑80-km (37舑50-mi)-wide belts of quartz-pebble-bearing quartzarenites that were deposited in a longitudinal drainage system. Successive quartzarenite belts are truncated updip by the next youngest belt. Each belt consists of at least a pair of vertically stacked, composite sandstones separated by a coal bed and estuarine or marine shale facies. Although less marine than their middle Pennsylvanian counterparts, the base of these lower Pennsylvanian midformation shales also represents marine flooding surfaces, or the updip equivalents of flooding surfaces. Therefore, lower Pennsylvanian third-order genetic sequences can be defined that include both marginward quartzarenites and basinward coal-measure facies.
Changes in foreland-basin subsidence, sedimentation patterns, climate, and marine influences affected depositional sequences from the early to middle Penn-sylvanian. The westward shift of the longitudinal drainage belt was accompanied by a westward shift in basinward coal measures, resulting in increasingly more extensive coals with time. Increasing expanse and uniformity of coal measures was accompanied by decreasing foreland accommodation. In each third-order sequence, the greatest accommodation appears to occur in the regressive parts of the brackish to marine shales that bound each sequence. The greatest spatial changes in sequence thickness occur across the northern hinge line of the basin and along the basinward limit of successive quartzarenite belts. Foreland-basin subsidence influenced the stacking of successive lower Pennsylvanian quartzarenites, the westward overlap of successive quartzarenite belts, basinward increases in the number of coal beds, development of coal zones in third-order sequences, and basinward increases in the thickness of coal beds.
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The origin of coal-bearing strata has been debated vigorously for more than a century, and with the emergence of coalbed methane as a major energy resource and the possibility of sequestering greenhouse gas in coal, this debate has never been more relevant. This volume contains 10 chapters on coal-bearing strata of Carboniferous through Tertiary age and is based on a special session that was held at an AAPG Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The contributors to this volume have employed a multitude of approaches ranging from basin analysis to plant taphonomy to support a variety of views on the sequence stratigraphy, paleoclimate, and tectonics of coal-bearing strata.