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. ?? 1990.