Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Field
Trip Guidebooks Series, Volume 132.The Paleocene coal-bearing
sequences in the northern Powder River Basin are contained in the
Tongue River Member of the Fort Union Formation and include
anomalously thick (54 m) subbituminous coals. These thick coals
have been the target of exploration and development for the past
few decades. For the past decade, these coals have also been the
object of depositional modeling studies Law, 1976; Galloway, 1979;
Flores, 1981, 1983, 1986; Ethridge and others, 1981; Ayers and
Kaiser, 1984; Warwick, 1985; Ayers, 1986; Moore, 1986; Warwick and
Stanton, 1988].Intensive modeling of these coals has resulted in
two major schools of thought. Firstly, Galloway 1979], Flores 1981,
1983, 1986], Ethridge and others 1981], Warwick 1985], Moore 1986],
and Warwick and Stanton 1988] believe that the coals formed from
peat that accumulated in swamps of fluvial systems. The fluvial
systems are interpreted as a basin axis trunk-tributary complex
that drained to the north-northeast into the Williston Basin.
Secondly, Ayers and Kaiser 1984] and Ayers 1986] believe that the
coals formed from peat swamps of deltaic systems. These deltas are
envisioned to have prograded east to west from the Black Hills and
infilled Lebo lake that was centrally located along the basin
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