The coal resource in place in Alberta is tremendous by whichever estimate is used. One such zone, the Paleocene Ardley coal zone, has calculated resources in the order of 425 gigatonnes along a 250-mile (400 kilometre) subcrop and dipping, to more than 2950 feet (900 m) depth, 90 miles (150 km) southwest into the Alberta Syncline. The geologic model developed for the Ardley Coal zone involves a continental setting in an alluvial plain environment characterized by widespread peat swamps that were far removed from marine conditions. Due to extremely low relief, relatively rapid subsidence and sediment starvation, thick and extensive peaks developed. In general the seams thicken and more seams are present with increasing depth. These deeper coal resources may contain large volumes of gas.

Rottenfusser, B., Langenberg, C.W., Mandryk, G.B., Richardson, R.J.H., Fildes, B.J., Olic, J., Stewart, S.A., Eccles, D.R., Evans, C., Spelrem, M., Sprecher, B., Brulotte, M., Gentzis, T., Wynne, D.A. and Yuan, L.P. (2002): Regional evaluation of the coal bed methane potential in the Plains and Foothills of Alberta, stratigraphy and rank study; Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, EUB/AGS Special Report 7 (digital version), 248 p.