Subtle structural influences on coal thickness and distribution: Examples from the Lower Broas–Stockton coal (Middle Pennsylvanian), Eastern Kentucky Coal Field, USA
Published:January 01, 2005
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Stephen F. Greb, Cortland F. Eble, J.C. Hower, 2005. "Subtle structural influences on coal thickness and distribution: Examples from the Lower Broas–Stockton coal (Middle Pennsylvanian), Eastern Kentucky Coal Field, USA", Coal Systems Analysis, Peter D. Warwick
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The Lower Broas–Stockton coal is a heavily mined coal of the Central Appalachian Basin. Coal thickness, distribution, composition, and stratigraphic position were compared with basement structure, gas and oil field trends, and sequence stratigraphic and paleoclimate interpretations to better understand the geology of the Stockton coal bed in eastern Kentucky. The thickest coal occurs south of the Warfield structural trend and east of the Paint Creek Uplift, two basement-related structures. Along the Warfield trend, coal beds in the underlying Peach Orchard coal zone locally merge with the Stockton coal to form a seam more than 3 m thick. Other areas of thick coal occur in elongate trends. Two pairs of elongate, conjugate trends in Stockton coal thickness are interpreted as regional paleofractures that influenced paleotopography and groundwater during peat accumulation.
Compositional group analyses indicate that the Stockton peat infilled depressions in the paleotopography as a topogenous to soligenous mire codominated by tree ferns and lycopsid trees. Flooding from adjacent paleochannels is indicated by partings and seam splits along the margins of the mineable coal body. One or more increments of low-vitrinite coal, dominated by tree ferns and shrubby, Densosporites-producing lycopsids occur at all sample sites. Similar assemblages have been previously used to identify ombrogenous, domed mire origins for Early and Middle Pennsylvanian coals in which ash yields were less than 10%. It is difficult, however, to reconcile ombrogenous conditions with the partings in the Stockton coal in this area. Low-ash, low-vitrinite increments may have been formed in topogenous to soligenous mires with periodic drying or water-table fluctuations, rather than widespread doming. This is consistent with interpretations of increasingly seasonal paleoclimates in the late Middle and Late Pennsylvanian and fracture-influenced groundwater conditions.