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The Energy Shale directly overlies the Herrin (No. 6) Coal Member in southwestern Jefferson County. Five facies of the Energy are recognized in the study area. The depositional environment is interpreted as a large quiet-water bay into which periodic influxes of coarse-grained sediments from the nearby Walshville channel were deposited as crevasse splays. The bay-fill deposits include a nonmarine and a brackish-marine facies; the latter has higher sulfur and boron contents and a sparse marine fauna. Both bay-fill facies are faintly laminated gray shales, and both grade laterally into and underlie deposits of the distal portion of crevasse splays. The distal splay facies is dominantly siltstone with lenticular bedding. The proximal splay facies grade laterally into and are interbedded with the distal splay deposits, and are divided into a channel facies (characteristically a well-sorted sandstone that contains microcross-bedding, clay drapes, contorted bedding, and a shale clast lag-deposit) and an interchannel facies (characterized by massive and flaser-bedded sandstones). Sulfur and boron content of the proximal and distal splay deposits is considerably less than that of the brackish-marine bay deposits, suggesting a nonmarine origin. Energy Shale facies have a direct influence on the sulfur content of the underlying Herrin (No. 6) Coal. In areas where thick (> 20 ft, 6 m) nonmarine bay-fill deposits overlie the coal, the sulfur content of the coal is less than 1%. Where the coal is overlain by thick proximal splay deposits, the sulfur content is 2 to 3%. This increase in sulfur content is attributed to downward percolation of sulfate-rich marine waters of a later transgression through the permeable sandstone. Where the coal is overlain by thin brackish-marine Energy or by the Anna Shale, the sulfur content averages 4 to 5%.
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