Depositional Controls of Mineable Coal Bodies

  1. R. A. Rahmani and
  2. R. M. Flores
  1. J. C. Ferm1 and
  2. J. R. Staub2

Published Online: 28 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303797.ch15

Sedimentology of Coal and Coal-Bearing Sequences

Sedimentology of Coal and Coal-Bearing Sequences

How to Cite

Ferm, J. C. and Staub, J. R. (1985) Depositional Controls of Mineable Coal Bodies, in Sedimentology of Coal and Coal-Bearing Sequences (eds R. A. Rahmani and R. M. Flores), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303797.ch15

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA

  2. 2

    Cannelton Industries, 1250 One Valley Square, Charleston, West Virginia 25301, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 1985

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632012862

Online ISBN: 9781444303797



  • depositional controls of mineable coal bodies;
  • coal exploration;
  • upper delta plain facies;
  • tapering;
  • peat accumulation


A test to explain the continuity and thickness of mineable coal seams in the northern Appalachian Plateau in terms of the Allegheny deltaic model has shown that factors other than deltaic setting (e.g. upper and lower delta plain), control the mechanisms of thickness variation and distribution of mineable seams. Thickness variation seems to be related primarily to abrupt seam splitting rather than channelling or gradual tapering. Splitting appears to occur when the site of peat accumulation is inundated by water, later filled with sediment and reoccupied by the peat swamp. Thickness variation by gradual tapering seems to be a product of subaerial exposure or flooding. The sites of maximum peat accumulation appear to be delicately balanced between areas which are topographically low and, hence, easily inundated and those which are topographically too ‘high’ to permit peat accumulation. Topographic control is, in part, produced by the degree to which underlying sediments can compact. Those that compact least yield topographic ‘highs’; those that compact most produce topographic ‘lows’. In addition, topography, in some cases, appears to be governed by contemporaneous faulting.

Some evidence suggests that the chemical and petrographic properties of coal can be related to seam morphology. Sulphur and ash appear to be generally higher and vitrinite lower in areas where the seam is split and thinned and the reverse is true where the benches are merged and the coal is thick.