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The Middle Pennsylvanian (Westphalian D) Stockton (also known as the Broas) coal bed of the Breathitt Formation is an important energy resource in Kentucky. Petrographic, geochemical and palynologic studies were undertaken from mine, core and highway exposures in Martin and northern Pike counties, Kentucky, in order to determine the influence of the Stockton depositional ecosystem on those parameters. Vitrinite-rich Stockton lithotypes are dominated by Lycospora. Dull lithotypes, including both high- and low-ash yield durains, generally have abundant Densosporites, suggesting that the parent plant inhabited a fairly wide range of environments. Lithologies having tree ferns as an important component also have high fusinite + semifusinite and a low telinite/gelocollinite ratio. The aerial root bundles of the tree ferns were susceptible to oxidation and, for tissue not oxidized to inertinite, to preservation as gelocollinite. In the initial stages of formation, the Stockton mire was discontinuous and had a rather restricted floral assemblage. The presence of durains higher in the Stockton section, particularly the low-ash yield durains having petrographic indicators of degradation, suggests that portions of the mire developed as a domed peat. The termination of the mire as a high-sulfur, arboreous lycopod-domimated mire is consistent with the return to more planar mire development.
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Petrography, geochemistry and palynology of the Stockton coal bed (Middle Pennsylvanian), Martin County, Kentucky