A blind-thrust-ridge model is proposed to explain the lack of coarse clastic material in the vast minable Upper Freeport coal bed (UF). This coal bed contains only fine elastic partings and is overlain by regionally extensive, closely spaced channel-belt deposits in the Upper Potomac coal field of the Appalachian basin. A blind-thrust ridge may have formed a sediment trap and prevented c coarse fluvial sediments from entering the swamp during a period (Westphalian D) when the thick Upper Freeport peat accumulated. Anticlinal thrust ridges and associated depressions may have existed uninterrupted for about 40 km parallel to the Appalachian orogen. Sediment shed from the breached anticlinal ridges accumulated in the sediment trap and was carried out of the ends of the trap by streams that occupied the shear zone at the ends of the blind-thrust ridge. The extent, parallel to the orogen, of thick, areally extensive UF is related to the length of the blind-thrust ridge that, in turn, controlled the spacing of the river-derived coarse clastic sediments that entered the main basin from the east. The thrust plane eventually emerged to the surface of the blind-thrust ridge and peat accumulation was terminated when the ridge became eroded and the sediment trapped behind it was released. The peat was buried by abundant coarse clastic sediment, which formed closely spaced channel belts and intervening flood basins. This model has implications for widespread peat deposits (now coal) that developed in tropical regions a few hundred kilometers from the sea in a tectonically active foreland basin. ?? 1989.