A statistical approach by a modified Markov process model was used to prove that the lower Permian coal measures of the Tanzanian Mchuchuma basin developed distinct cyclicities during deposition. From results the transition path of lithologic states typical for this coal sequence is as follows: (A) coarse sandstone, (B) medium sandstone, (C) fine-very fine sandstone, (D) shale, (E) mudstone, (F) coal or (E+F) and again (A) coarse sandstone. The majority of cycles is asymmetric (ABCDEF-ABC..) but symmetrical cycles are present as well (ABCDEFED). The statistical results concur with observed sedimentological evidence of depositional environment. Fining upward cycles correspond to the development of basal channel bars, changing into levees, then into back swamps which are topped by coal swamps. Frequent interbedding of coal and mudstone in the upper part of the coal measures calls for periodic flooding and flushing of fine clastics into coal-forming swamps causing interruption of peat formation. Cyclical deposition is explained by wandering channels in response to varying discharge and rate of deposition, their lateral frequent shifting caused the formation of asymmetrical cycles in this fluviodeltaic depositional model. 33 refs., 7 figs., 1 tab.