Thick coal seams in the intramontane basins of the Massif Central allow a detailed study of peat/coal compaction. Three stages of compaction can be detected. Stage 1—occurred during the deposition of the peat. Coal beds which thicken and dip away from penecontemporaneous sandstones suggest rapid compaction. Stage 2—compaction of peat related to overburden pressure in some cases resulted in the formation of lakes over peat beds. The thickness of the lacustrine deposits may give an indication of the amount of compaction that took place. One possibility is that the early compaction was related to the progradation of siliciclastics over the peat. Stage 3—occurred after the organic sediment achieved some rigidity. Compaction can be calculated from deformed clastic dykes.