Re: Coal and theYEC position

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 04 Apr 1998 11:32:25 -0600

Hi Bill,

At 11:15 PM 4/3/98 -0600, wrote:
>Hi Glenn,
>Looks like you're back into full swing. Hope you had a nice break and
>are ready to get drilled. :-))

Might be. :-)
>02 Apr 1998 20:26:01 -0600, Glenn Morton wrote:
>> 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.
>Yeah, Glenn, but in the realistic world of coal outcrops, nowhere do we
>see the features expected if coal were formed from a peat bog. The coal
>seams should be full of stumps, which are rare, and the stumps should
>have attached root systems, which are rare among the stumps that we do
>find. You continue to hammer your pet defenses and ignore the
>problematic observations which upset your bogs.

No, it really doesn't because when the peat is covered by sand or some other
lithology, the stumps can often be processed into coal just like the rest of
the organic matter is. A friend of mine haunts quarries and mines looking
for minerals and fossils. At least among the Tertiary coals of the Texas,
he has seen stumps sticking out of the coal where the top part, protruding
into the sand above was silicified and the bottom part of the trunk was
coalified. Before you say that this represents depsition in the flood,
remember that the Mississippi Rive dumped up to 6 feet of sand on top of
farmlands and that is all that it would have taken to accomplish what my
friend saw.

>> 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.
>No, Glenn, I see you requiring more violence from the flood than YECs
>do, but only so you can use the violence to corner the YECs.

No, I am requiring the laws of physics to have been in operation. Try an
experiment next time you have a heavy rain, no on second thought buy a bag
of peat moss from the nursery and go down to your local creek. Dump the
peat into the water and follow it downstream. Even in the gentle flow of
your local creeks and rivers, the peat will not stay together. It will
disperse. What you are suggesting is that it is possible for the global
flood to pick up preflood peat beds, transport them enmass, and deposit them
somewhere else. I don't find that credible.

>If coals were formed in peat bogs, they should have many more stumps.
>Since the stumps are generally absent, and since coals commonly display
>thin-bedded structure typical of sedimentary rocks, then in order to
>maintain a rational interlock of the data and our inferences, we must
>conclude that the organics found in coals were transported by water and
>settled out on the bottom. I would say that most of the violence from
>the flood occurred early in the flood, and things settled down a bit by
>the time the organics from floating mats of vegetation (which had been
>ripped off the continents) began to form.
>I'll admit that I can't explain your fossil fish series within a YEC
>framework (yet); how about you admitting that you can't explain the
>features of coal seams rather than relying on indirect evidence like
>"There wasn't enough preflood biomass" or "The coals are too clean to
>have been deposited in a global flood?" (Rough quotes)

I will admit that there are features of coals that I can't explain, but then
it does not follow that the flood therefore is the cause and explanation. If
every unexplained item is to be ascribed to the flood, then I guess the
disappearance of Raul Wallenberg after WWII was due to the flood. Logically
it is fallacious to assume that what can't be explained must be explained by
the flood.

To be more specific, I can't and you can't explain the features of the
Pittsburg coal seam.

"Given, a 'bench' or layer of good bituminous coal, of very
uniform quality, varying in thickness from say 22 to 27 inches,
with one or two more or less irregular slaty partings or binders
here and there in it; and imagine such a deposit spread out over
at least 15,000 square miles. The edges or outcroppings of this
layer of coal reveal no signs of a beginning or of an end; in
other words, there is nothing to indicate that this coal did not
originally extend hundreds of miles beyond any of its existing
limits. We will not now discuss the question. How did this
layer of coal get where it is? But proceed at once to observe
that it has a practically dead-level and even surface or top.
Suppose this vast expanse of dead-level coal vegetation to be
completely covered or sealed over by a thin layer or band of
shale, or 'slate' as miners call it. We will suppose the
thickness of this film of shale to be from 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch
only. Imagine a practically unbroken 15,000+ square mile sheet
of shale only 3/8 of an inch thick! On top of this shale-band
let a second and equally uniform layer of the same coal as the
thicker one below, be deposited, whose thickness is about 4
inches---a layer of coal practically free from impurities, and,
in every respect, similar to the rest of the seam, regarded as a
whole. Again, on top of this 4-inch band of coal conceive a
second layer of shale to exist, in thickness and kind just about
the same as the shale-layer 4 inches below it. Then above this
suppose we have a uniform bench of coal 3 to 5 feet high. Here,
then, we have three separate and distinct benches or divisions of
a coal-seam separated horizontally by a couple of thin, parallel-
bedded layers of shale; or looked at in another way, we have a
say, 15,000 square mile 4-inch band of excellent coal sandwiched
between two very thin, but remarkably persistent layers of what
is presumably hardened mud, these again being enclosed by thicker
layers of the same kind of coal. Now, the foregoing is in
reality a description of what actually occurs in nature; it is
the lower or workable division of the 'great Pittsburgh bed.'
These two 'slate-binders' seem to be so remarkable as regards
their geographical extent, uniformity in effort ought to be made
to explain: 1---What they are or signify; 2---How they got there;
and, 3---Whence they came,---three questions, so far as I know,
not at all satisfactorily answered, and much less easy of
solution than at first sight appears. My wish in this connection
is that this paper may stir up sufficient interest in this matter
to lead to further extended, and closer observation; and such a
detailed study of the Pittsburgh bed as it (a typical one) surely
deserves and ought to receive at the hands of all local
geologists and men capable of doing useful work on it. Of
course, the question of the origin and formation of the shale-
bands in the coal opens up that of the whole question of the
formation of coal-seams, for the bands are part and parcel of the
seam; the two substances (coal and shale) cannot be considered
separately."~W. S. Gresley, "The 'Slate Binders' of the
'Pittsburgh' Coal-bed," American Geologist, 14:(1894), p. 356-357
cited in William R. Corliss, Unknown Earth: A Handbook of
Geological Enigmas, (Glen Arm, MD: The Source Book Project,
1980), p. 155-156.

How do you explain the remarkable uniformity of thickness within a global flood?


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