Processes that are contemporaneous with peat deposition create coalbed discontinuities that are clearly distinguishable from discontinuities that form post-depositionally. Syndepositional discontinuities are most commonly the result of scouring by ancient distributary channels. These breaks in the coalbed are recognized by several criteria: (1) absence or thinning of the coalbed, (2) numerous partings or binders, (3) decreased coal quality, (4) anomalous coal thicknesses immediately adjacent to the channel, and (5) rolls in the coalbed. Syndepositional discontinuities may also result from channel-bank slumping, growth of structural folds, and topographic irregularities in the peat swamp. Discontinuities generated after peat deposition commonly occur in conjunction with syndepositional discontinuities and include channel scouring and associated slumping, tectonic faulting, and the formation of clay veins. Syndepositional discontinuities created by distributary channel activity produce numerous warning signs, as mentioned, and can be predicted well in advance of mining. On the other hand, post- depositional discontinuities occur abruptly and give little advance notice of their presence. The problem associated with syndepositional discontinuities are more numerous.
Abstr. in Proc. Pennsylvania Acad. Sci, V. 58, No. 1, 1984, P. 119