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Origin of thick, low-sulphur coal in the Lower Pennsylvanian Pocahontas Formation, Virginia and West Virginia

Kenneth J. Englund, John F. Windolph and Roger E. Thomas
Origin of thick, low-sulphur coal in the Lower Pennsylvanian Pocahontas Formation, Virginia and West Virginia (in Paleoenvironmental and tectonic controls in coal-forming basins of the United States, Paul C. Lyons (editor) and Charles L. Rice (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (1986) 210: 49-61

Abstract

Clastic sediments in the Pocahontas Formation of the east-central Appalachian basin in Virginia and West Virginia were deposited in a series of stacked delta lobes along the southeastern shoreline of a Carboniferous Appalachian seaway. These sediments prograded northwestward and were depositionally continuous with precursor Mississippian coal-bearing strata presently located primarily to the southeast in the faulted and folded belt of the Appalachians. During periodic stillstands in Early Pennsylvanian time, coastal currents and waves reworked and segregated sand along the delta front, forming a system of curvilinear barrier-bars. Behind these protective barriers, vegetation flourished in swamps on the abandoned delta lobes. An analysis of the relationship of coal occurrences to the geometries of sandstone units indicates that the origin of thick, low-sulfur coal in the Pocahontas Formation can be attributed to the initial and continuing accumulation of peat on the periodically inactive delta lobes. Conversely thin, impure, and discontinuous peat (coal) accumulated in the shale-dominated interlobe areas. An increase in the sulfur content of the coal to the northwest may have resulted from the proximity of marine conditions to the distal ends of the delta lobes. The genetic relation of coal distribution and sulfur content to the delta system provides a basis for designing exploration programs in coal-bearing strata of the Appalachian basin, particularly for predicting both the quantity and the quality of the coal.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 210
Title: Origin of thick, low-sulphur coal in the Lower Pennsylvanian Pocahontas Formation, Virginia and West Virginia
Title: Paleoenvironmental and tectonic controls in coal-forming basins of the United States
Author(s): Englund, Kenneth J.Windolph, John F., Jr.Thomas, Roger E.
Author(s): Lyons, Paul C.editor
Author(s): Rice, Charles L.editor
Affiliation: U. S. Geol. Surv., Reston, VA, United States
Affiliation: U. S. Geol. Surv., Reston, VA, United States
Pages: 49-61
Published: 1986
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 48
Accession Number: 1987-032268
Categories: Petrology of coal
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., sketch maps
N33°00'00" - N47°30'00", W87°00'00" - W67°00'00"
N36°34'60" - N39°28'00", W83°34'60" - W75°15'00"
N37°15'00" - N40°40'00", W82°30'00" - W77°45'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 1987
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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