Geochemical studies on Upper Carboniferous marine bands showed that marked enrichment in redox-sensitive trace elements (uranium (U), vanadium (V), molybdenum (Mo)) mostly occur if they contain Goniatites. Goniatites indicate deposition in relatively distal and deep marine environments. In contrast, Westphalian marine bands found in the Netherlands predominantly show a Lingula facies, indicating deposition in a nearshore environment. These Lingula marine bands are mostly lacking significant trace element enrichments. The aim of this paper is to explain the mechanisms causing the differences in geochemical characteristics between distal (Goniatites facies) and proximal (Lingula facies) marine bands. Geochemical analyses (total organic carbon (TOC), sulfur (S), major and trace elements) were carried out on a selection of these marine bands. Furthermore, a comparison was made with some lacustrine bands which broadly show the same sedimentary development as the Lingula marine bands. The results show that the Lingula marine bands, in contrast to the Goniatites and lacustrine bands, are characterised by low organic carbon contents (1 – 2 wt.%). A relatively high input of siliciclastics probably prevented the accumulation of organic-rich layers (dilution effect). In turn, low organic carbon contents most likely prevented the effective scavenging of trace elements. Although the lacustrine bands are characterised by high TOC contents, here the limited availability of trace elements in fresh water forms the best explanation for low trace metal enrichments. Since marine bands form stratigraphically important horizons in the Upper Carboniferous, many attempts have been made to recognise marine bands using well logs (gamma-ray). The results from this study show that using gamma-ray devices (detecting U-enrichments), only marine bands in a Goniatites facies are clearly recognised while Lingula marine bands are not detected.