Coal Measures

British coalfields in the nineteenth century.

The Coal Measures is a lithostratigraphical term for the coal-bearing part of the Upper Carboniferous System. It represents the remains of fluvio-deltaic sediment, and consists mainly of clastic rocks (claystones, shales, siltstones, sandstones, conglomerates) interstratified with the beds of coal. In most places, the Coal Measures are underlain by coarser clastic sequences known as Millstone Grit, of Namurian age. The top of the Coal Measures may be marked by an unconformity, the overlying rocks being Permian or later in age. In some parts of Britain, however, the Coal Measures grade up into mainly coal-barren red-beds of late Westphalian and possibly Stephanian age.[1][2] Within the Pennine Basin these barren measures are now referred to as the Warwickshire Group, from the district where they achieve their thickest development.[3]

The Coal Measures formed during Westphalian and earliest Stephanian times in the European ('Heerlen') chronostratigraphical scheme (which is approximately equivalent to the Middle Pennsylvanian Series of the IUGS global chronostratigraphical scheme).

In the eastern United States the term coal measures has been applied to the Pennsylvanian coal fields. Generally, the Pittsburgh coal seam is considered the base of the upper coal measures, exposed along the Monongahela River, while the lower coal measures are exposed along the Allegheny River.[4]

The term coal measures has also historically been used in other parts of the world for coal-bearing successions of various ages, e.g. the Permian coal measures of Australia and the late Cretaceous and early Tertiary coal measures found in New Zealand. However, these usages are mostly informal.

See also


  1. ^ Rayner, D H; Hemingway, J E, The Geology and Mineral Resources Of Yorkshire, Leeds: Yorkshire Geological Society (published 1974) 
  2. ^ Edwards, W; Trotter, F M, The Pennines and Adjacent Areas, British Regional Geology (Third ed.), London: HMSO. Natural Environment Research Council (published 1954) 
  3. ^ Powell, J.H. et al. 2000. Stratigraphical framework for Westphalian to early Permian red-bed successions of the Pennine Basin, British Geological Survey Research Report, RR/00/01
  4. ^ Stratigraphy of the Bituminous Coal Field in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey No. 65, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1891. See Chapter III and V.

Further reading

  • CJ Cleal and BA Thomas, Plants of the British Coal Measures, The Palaeontological Association, 1994.
  • CJ Cleal and BA Thomas, British Upper Carboniferous stratigraphy, Chapman & Hall, London, 1995.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coal measures — Coal Coal (k[=o]l), n. [AS. col; akin to D. kool, OHG. chol, cholo, G. kohle, Icel. kol, pl., Sw. kol, Dan. kul; cf. Skr. jval to burn. Cf. {Kiln}, {Collier}.] 1. A thoroughly charred, and extinguished or still ignited, fragment from wood or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coal measures — n. 1. coal beds or strata 2. sedimentary Carboniferous rocks that include coal bearing strata …   English World dictionary

  • Coal-Measures — (spr. kōl méschers), aus Schiefertonen, Sandsteinen und Kohlenflözen bestehende oberkarbonische Schichten auf den britischen Inseln, s. Steinkohlenformation …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • coal measures — Geol. 1. coal bearing strata. 2. (caps.) in Europe, a portion of the Carboniferous System, characterized by widespread coal deposits. [1655 65] * * * Major division of Upper Carboniferous (323–290 million years ago) rocks and time in Great… …   Universalium

  • coal measures — coal′ meas ures n. pl. 1) gel coal bearing strata 2) gel (caps.) a portion of the Carboniferous System characterized by widespread coal deposits …   From formal English to slang

  • Coal Measures — /ˈkoʊl mɛʒəz/ (say kohl mezhuhz) plural noun Geology 1. a portion of the carboniferous system in Europe or North America, characterised by coal deposits. 2. a portion of the Permian system in the Southern Hemisphere and India characterised by… …   Australian English dictionary

  • coal-measures — n. pl. Bed of coal, strata of coal, carbomferous group …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • coal measures — noun plural : beds of coal with the associated rocks varying in thickness from a few feet to several thousand feet and consisting of shales, sandstones, limestones, and conglomerates with interstratified beds of coal and occasionally of iron ore …   Useful english dictionary

  • coal measures — noun plural Date: 1829 beds of coal with the associated rocks …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • coal measures — strata of coal deposits …   English contemporary dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.