Petrology of the Fire Clay coal, Bear Branch, Perry County, Kentucky

James C. Hower, Cortland F. Eble, Maria Mastalerz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Middle Pennsylvanian Duckmantian-age Fire Clay coal has traditionally been a valuable, high-quality coal resource and, owing the synchronous deposition of a lanthanide-rich volcanic ash fall, is one of the premier coal-based, rare earth resources in the World. While much of the coal is composed of high-vitrinite bright lithotypes, the Bear Branch sections of the coal stand out as having liptinite- and inertinite-rich lithologies, particularly in the split below the ash-fall tonstein. The liptinite and inertinite macerals were concentrated, in part, due to the poor and non-preservation of small lycopod-, tree fern-, calamites-, and cordaites-derived humic material. Regionally, the sub-tonstein part of the Fire Clay coal has an irregular thickness, ranging from no coal to about 60-cm thick at Bear Branch, one of the thicker sections in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103891
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The sampling and analysis was supported by funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Coal deposition
  • Macerals
  • Pennsylvanian
  • Tonstein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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