This study is the result of a coal evaluation program jointly funded by Alberta Energy and Natural Resources and the Alberta Research Council between 1979 and 1986. The major objectives of the program were to
- evaluate the coal resources of the plains region of Alberta south of Township 64, from the near surface to depths of about 400 m; and
- develop an understanding of the sedimentological and stratigraphic controls on the distribution and geometry of the coal seams.
This report describes the coal resources in the lower Horseshoe Canyon Formation and its lateral equivalents, from the outcrop areas to between 100 km and 150 km west (downdip) of the outcrop.
A computer dataset containing information from 812 petroleum wells and 108 coal exploration holes was used to generate a series of coal resource maps included in this study. Most of the coal exploration holes were drilled by the Alberta Research Council in previous programs. The Alberta Research Council drilled, on a one-hole-per-township basis, parallel to the outcrop edge in central and southern Alberta. Depending on the location drilled, maximum depths ranged from 150 m to 300 m. Petroleum well data were used where the coals were deeper within the basin, generally at depths greater than 200 m. Emphasis during the study was to establish a regular and random distribution of data points. Generally, one to three wells per township. The total study was 490 townships in size.
This study has delineated attractive coal deposits in the lower Horseshoe Canyon Formation to depths of 400 m on a regional scale. Regional scale investigations serve as a guide for the more detailed work required for an economic assessment or mineability study of a particular area.