At a coal field in central Alberta, Canada, the acoustic reflectivity of shallow coal seams was found to be dominated by the density contrast between coal and host bentonitic sediments. Sonic logs and a check-shot survey showed that the compressional-wave velocity is almost constant through the coal zone and the overlying sediments, and ranges in value between 2000 m/s and 2350 m/s over different parts of the coal field. The average coal density is 1400 kg/m 3 , whereas the density of the sediments is about 2200 kg/m 3 .Results are illustrated using logs from a typical drillhole in the coal field. At this location, the time reflectivity sequence based on both the density and sonic logs is very similar to that obtained when the density log only is used, with a constant velocity assumed through the coal zone. At another drillhole location in the coal field, where reflection seismic data had been acquired, a synthetic seismogram generated from the density log closely matches the stacked seismic section.