Revised correlation chart of coal beds, coal zones, and key stratigraphic units in the Pennsylvanian rocks of eastern Kentucky

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 2275

Prepared in cooperation with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, University of Kentucky, Kentucky Geological Survey, Donald C. Haney, Director and State Geologist



This report revises Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-1188 (Rice and Smith, 1980). Major revisions to the original correlation chart include formal naming of key marine units in Kentucky and replacement of informally named marine units incorrectly projected into Kentucky from adjacent states. Also included in the report is the proper correlation of some regionally recognized coal bed names that have been incorrectly projected into Kentucky, particularly from Ohio and West Virginia. Besides these additions and corrections, minor changes have been made to the correlation chart, all of which are discussed below in detail. The Pennsylvania rocks of the eastern Kentucky coal field underlie an area of about 27,000 square kilometers (see index map). Largely because of the size and stratigra[hic complexity of the area, Huddle and others (1963, p. 31) divided the coal field into six coal-reserve districts. District boundaries utilize state and county line as well as geologic features, drainage areas, and coal producing areas. Their division is followed herein because, in general, each of the districts has a characteristic stratigraphic nomenclature, particularly with regard to coal bed names. The six districts are the Princess, Licking River, Big Sandy, Hazard, Southwestern, and Upper Cumberland River district is divided into the Middlesboro and Harlan subdistricts. The correlation chart lists most of the stratigraphic units of Pennsylvanian age used in eastern Kentucky, and is concerned principally with coal bed names used in publications since about 1950, especially all of the names of coal beds for which resources and reserves have been calculated. Coal constitutes only a small percentage of the total Pennsylvanian-rock sequence, but is present in as many as 26 major coal zones that have been prospected and mined extensively in all parts of the coal field since the early 1900's. Coal names listed in this chart represent coal beds that have been mined commercially or used locally by residents of the area. Not every coal bed listed under a district in the chart is found in all parts of that district, nor has every coal bed been given a name. For the sake of saving space, coal beds commonly identified as a "rider" coal bed (commonly a minor coal or split above the main bed) or as a "marker" coal bed (a minor coal below the main bed) are not included in the chart because they do not contribute to the overall stratigraphic framework of the coal field. Most of the stratigraphic units listed in the correlation chart are defined and described in detail in almost 200 geologic reports of the Geologic Quadrangle (GQ) Map Series of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). These maps were published as a result of the cooperative geological mapping program of the USGS and the Kentucky Geological Survey; which was begun in 1960 and was completed in 1978. The GQ maps, at a scale of 1:24,000, describe the lithology and local stratigraphy and identify many coal beds by noth local and regional names. Other sources of stratigraphic information and coal bed names used in the construction of the chart include USGS bulletins dealing with the coal resources of single 7.5-minute quadrangles (Englund, 1955; Adkinson, 1957; Welch, 1958; Bergin, 1962). The coal resources of eastern Kentucky as a whole have been described by Huddle and others (1963) and detailed reports on the stratigraphy and coal resources of significant areas in eastern Kentucky have been made by Huddle and Englund (1966) and Englund (1968). An additional source of coal bed names is the SEAMS database, which is jointly sponsored by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, the Kentucky Geological Survey, and the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals. The SEAMS database identifies the stratigraphic position and location of all coal beds in the eastern and the western Kentucky coal fields as well as those of bordering areas in adjacent states. The databases includes references to all coal-bed names used in Kentucky, especially those shown on coal company mine maps. Local names of coal beds in the database file that are not generally used in publications are listed in table 1 together with their regional equivalents.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Revised correlation chart of coal beds, coal zones, and key stratigraphic units in the Pennsylvanian rocks of eastern Kentucky
Series title:
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
1 Plate: 41.63 x 39.40 inches
United States