Re: Coal and theYEC position

Glenn Morton (
Thu, 02 Apr 1998 20:26:01 -0600

At 06:06 PM 4/2/98 -0500, John W. Burgeson wrote:
>In a private conversation with a YECer -- my friend writes:
>" For your information I refer
>you to a research paper by John Woodmorappe, titled "The Antediluvian
>Biosphere and Its Capability of Supplying the Entire Fossil Record"
>Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Creationism (1986),
>Vol II pp 205-218. In the paper, Woodmomappe explicily, with the
>published figures for coal (which, incidentally, are not very firm as you
>claim, they vary widely), but he uses his opponent's figure of 1.5x10^19
>gms carbon in all the world's coal. He then, clearly, and succinctly,
>proposes data and PRESENT accumulation rates in present peat bogs to show
>that the coal biomass could have easily accumulated using less than 2% of
>the earth's surface (using only peat bogs, ignoring phytomass of standing
>Does anyone have comments on this paper or the arguments therein?

I have the paper. It is a response to my CRSQ article "The Carbon Problem"
Creation Research Soc. Quarterly, 20(1984):4:212-219. I have some remarks at
the end of his paper in the "Discussion" section. I wrote:

"It seems that only the very fastest rates observed today and only the very
lowest estimates of carbon content are used for Mr. Woodmorappe's
calculations. This is close to special pleading." Glenn.R. Morton,
"Discussion" Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Creationism
>Vol II p 214.

Beyond this, Woodmorappe goes about it as follows:

"In 1656 years, peat deposits of 11.6 m depth result from the highest
bog-plant productivities seen today (1,400 gms per sq. meter per year),
assuming no decay and peat density of .1." p. 205

Now since this is AFTER the fall, and YECs believe that decay and corruption
are part of the world after the fall, it is unreasonable to assume that
there is no decay!

Then he goes on to say,

"If, to start our calculations, we use the previously-discussed value of 1.6
x 10^5 gms carbon per cu. meter peat and have the entire earth covered with
20 m of it, 1.18 x 10^21 gms carbon is available. using Morton's quoted
value of 1.5 x 10^19 gms carbon in all the world's coal, 1.27% of the
earth's surface having 20 m thick peat deposits is all that is necessary to
supply the carbon." p. 206

Nowhere does Woodmorappe show that in a realistic world, where about 90% or
more of the plant matter decays before the formation of peat, that it is
possible to accumulate this amount of peat.

There is also the problem that if one is to account for the coal beds in a
global flood, one must be able to account for how the peat was transported
in the flood and ONLY the peat was deposited to form coal. Coal is around
70%+ carbon and this requires that the pre-flood peats NOT be mixed with
sand and shale. Yet Creationists require that the global flood be violent.
The global flood is incompatible with the purity of the coals (speaking of
the carbon content). If coals were deposited in the flood they should have
much more sand and shale content.


Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man


Foundation, Fall and Flood