Cretaceous and Eocene lignite deposits, Jackson Purchase, Kentucky

James C. Hower, Fredrick J. Rich, David A. Williams, Alan E. Bland, Faith L. Fiene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Lignites occur in the Cretaceous McNairy Formation and the Eocene Claiborne Formation in the Jackson Purchase region of western Kentucky. The lone Cretaceous lignite sample has over 18 percent inertodetrinite and 32 percent humodetrinite which, along with the abundant mineral matter, suggests a possible allochthonous origin for the deposit. The Claiborne Formation lignites have higher humic maceral contents than the Cretaceous lignites. Palynology suggests that there was considerable variation in the plant communities responsible for the Claiborne deposits. Differences in the preservation of the various plants is also seen in the variations between the humic types, particularly in the ulminite and humodetrinite contents. Potter and Dilcher (1980) suggested that the Claiborne lignites in the Jackson Purchase and west Tennessee developed in the abandoned oxbows of Eocene rivers. Significant short-distance changes in the peat thickness, flora, and other depositional elements should be expected in such an environment and could easily account for the observed variations in composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-254
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 30 1990

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Don Pollock assisted in the collection of the samples. Carla Pryor and Garry Wild assisted in the petrography and Charles Jones assisted in the geochemistry. We wish to thank James C. Cobb, Kentucky Geological Survey, for critical review of the manuscript. All work at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research was supported through grants from the Kentucky Cabinet. Research at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has been supported by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Mineral Institute Program administered by the U.S. Bureau of Mines under allotment grant number G1154146.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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