A model of the stratigraphy of sequences in coal, based on a subsurface case study of the coal-bearing Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group of Canada, posits basinward progressive splitting patterns of thick, regionally extensive paralic coal seams. Successive splits bounded by transgressive-regressive coal-seam couplets are interpreted to be fourth-order sequences produced in single base-level cycles. Stacked in a progradational pattern, these fourth-order sequences in turn form third-order sequences. Thick, regional seams form on top of a prograding platform by amalgamation of several fourth-order sequences. Vertical profiles of coal properties (geochemistry, petrology, and palynology) in the lower and upper leaves of a split seam which constitute a transgressive-regressive couplet would yield characteristic signatures revealing their transgressive and regressive nature, respectively.

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