Re–Os age for the Lower–Middle Pennsylvanian Boundary and comparison with associated palynoflora

International Journal of Coal Geology
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Betsie Shale Member is a relatively thick and continuous unit that serves as a marker bed across the central Appalachian basin, in part because it includes an organic-rich shale unit at its base that is observable in drill logs. Deposited during a marine transgression, the Betsie Shale Member has been correlated to units in both Wales and Germany and has been proposed to mark the boundary between the Lower and Middle Pennsylvanian Series within North America. This investigation assigns a new Re–Os date to the base of the Betsie and examines the palynoflora and maceral composition of the underlying Matewan coal bed in the context of that date. The Matewan coal bed contains abundant lycopsid tree spores along its base with assemblage diversity and inertinite content increasing upsection, as sulfur content and ash yield decrease. Taken together, these palynologic and organic petrographic results suggest a submerged paleomire that transitioned to an exposed peat surface. Notably, separating the lower and upper benches of the Matewan is a parting with very high sulfur content (28 wt.%), perhaps representing an early marine pulse prior to the full on transgression responsible for depositing the Betsie. Results from Re–Os geochronology date the base of the Betsie at 323 ± 7.8 Ma, consistent with previously determined age constraints as well as the palynoflora assemblage presented herein. The Betsie Shale Member is also highly enriched in Re (ranging from 319.7 to 1213 ng/g), with high 187Re/188Os values ranging from 3644 to 5737 likely resultant from varying redox conditions between the pore water and overlying water column during deposition and early condensing of the section.

 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Re–Os age for the Lower–Middle Pennsylvanian Boundary and comparison with associated palynoflora
Series title International Journal of Coal Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.coal.2015.01.002
Volume 140
Year Published 2015
Language English
Contributing office(s) Eastern Energy Resources Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 23
Last page 30
Country United States
State West Virginia
County Wyoming County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N