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The Upper Cretaceous Ferron Sandstone Member of the Mancos Shale, the coal-bearing unit of the Emery coalfield in central Utah, shows accumulation of clastic sediments in a lobate, river-dominated deltaic system that existed along the western shoreline of the Interior Cretaceous seaway during late Turonian time. Five cycles of deltaic sedimentation, each containing one major coal bed or coal zone, are represented. A clear genetic relationship exists between the geometries of the major coal beds of the Emery field and the geometries of the delta-front sandstone units with which they are associated. The thicker part of each coal bed extends from the vicinity of the landward pinch-out of the associated delta-front sandstone landward to a distance of about 10 km. This genetic relation forms the basis of a predictive model that can be used in designing more cost-effective exploration programs in coal-bearing strata of Cretaceous age in the Western Interior.
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