Five coals of Westphalian A (early Middle Pennsylvanian) age were sampled from the Joggins Formation section exposed along Chignecto Bay at Joggins, Nova Scotia. Coal beds along the bay were mined beginning in the early 17th century, yet there have been few detailed published investigation of the coal beds of this classic section. The lowermost coal, the Upper Coal 28 (Upper Fundy), is a high-vitrinite coal with a spore assemblage dominated by arboreous lycopsid spores with tree ferns subdominant. The upper portions of the coal bed have the highest ratio of well-preserved to poorly-preserved telinite of any of the coals investigated. Coal 19 ('clam coal') has 88% total vitrinite but, unlike the Fundy coal bed, the telinite has a poor preservation ratio and half the total vitrinite population comprises gelocollinite and vitrodetrinite. The latter coal bed is directly overlain by a basin-wide limestone bed. The Lower Kimberly coal shows good preservation of vitrinite with relatively abundant telinite among the total vitrinite. The Middle Kimberly coal, which underlies the tetrapod-bearing lycopsid trees found by Lyell and Dawson in 1852, exhibits an upward decrease in arboreous lycopod spores and an upward increase in the tree fern spore Punctatisporites minutus. Telinite preservation increases upwards in the Middle Kimberly but overall is well below the preservation ratio of the Upper Fundy coal bed. The coals all have high sulfur contents, yielding up to 13.7% total sulfur for the lower lithotype of the Upper Fundy coal bed. The Kimberly coals are not only high in total and pyritic sulfur, but also have high concentrations of chalcophile elements. Zinc, ranging up to 15,000 ppm (ash basis), is present as sphalerite in fusain lumens. Arsenic and lead each exceed 6000 ppm (ash basis) in separate lithotypes of the Kimberly coals. Together these data are consistent with elevated pH in planar mires. The source of the elemental enrichment in this presumed continental section is enigmatic. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.Five coals of Westphalian A (early Middle Pennsylvanian) age were sampled from the Joggins Formation section exposed along Chigneto Bay at Joggins, Nova Scotia. All the coals were found to have high sulfur contents. Overall, the data obtained are consistent with elevated pH in planar mires.