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Stratigraphy and Sedimentology of Coal-Bearing Strata, U.S. Highway 23, Prestonsburg, Kentucky

Funding Agency: Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd.

Duration: Funding period ended March 31, 2002

Coal-bearing strata are exceptionally exposed in roadcuts throughout eastern Kentucky. Outcrop exposures from these roadcuts have long been used as analogs for coal-bearing strata in other parts of the world. The accessibility of the outcrops allows for the accumulation of detailed stratigraphic and sedimentological data, which can be used to aid in the exploration for coal, oil, and natural gas in areas where similar strata are not exposed at the surface or are not as accessible. This research project was funded to measure and describe the lateral relationships of coal-bearing strata of the Breathitt Group along the new parts of U.S. Highway 23 in the Prestonsburg Quadrangle. The project included student workers under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Greb.

Twenty-four outcrops along the new stretch of U.S. Highway 23 near Prestonsburg were measured, described and photographed.

A GIS database was constructed that included outcrop locations and descriptions, coal thickness and stratigraphic data, geologic base maps, and digital photographic imagery. The database is being expanded along U.S. Highway 23, and will be available in the future as a KGS online database or virtual field trip.