Re: Coal and theYEC position

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 12 Apr 1998 20:51:18 -0500

Hi Bill,

At 08:34 PM 4/12/98 -0600, wrote:
>04 Apr 1998 11:32:25 -0600, Glenn Morton wrote:
>> 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.
>I know that, and what I'm saying is that the stumps are rare - almost
>*never* found in the coal seams themselves. If coal is a swamp deposit,
>it should be riddled with stumps and roots.

I think a day later than this post, I pointed out that the organic matter
does not necessarily have to have come from trees. Swamp grasses,
collecting over a long time could also have provided the necessary organics.

Coal seams do display a
>great amount of fine detail of thin-bedded structure, so if the stumps
>were coalified, they would also be preserved in detail, and would
>interrupt the bedding planes - even though they may be squashed to 5 or
>10% of their original height. The general lack of stumps and roots and
>the preservation of thin-bedding detail is a problem for your in situ
>swamp model for the origin of coal, whether you will admit it or not.

Your statement about a "general lack" of tree stumps may be true IN GENERAL
but there are indeed vertical trunks found in coal.

"One phenomenon frequently advanced as proof of autochthonous
coal formation is the presence of tree trunks standing upright in
coal seams, with attached roots standing in the soil forming the
floor of the seam - i.e. the stigmaria of Lycopods. However even
this phenomenon is not conclusive proof, since it is natural for
short stems attached to the heavy roots of trees to float
upright, with the roots downwards, when transported by deep
water, particularly if the roots enclose a ball of clay or
gravel. Such a phenomenon was observed by Grand Eury in the coal
at Saint Etienne in France. Stems of Sigillaria and Calamites
with Stigmaria attached were found standing upright in the seam,
apparently in the position of growth. At a certain height, all
the stems were cut and the tops were missing. This was explained
by Horbigger on the assumption that the trees floated into
position with the thick and heavy basal stem and roots downward,
and in this position they were frozen. The portion of stems
above the congealed portion were water soaked, frozen and brittle
and thus easily broken off by the following wave." ~Wilfred
Francis, Coal: Its Formation and Composition, (London: Edward
Arnold, Ltd., 1961), p. 28

>First let me say that, whether I can provide a credible "global flood"
>model or not, has no bearing on whether you can reasonably continue to
>cling to a coal-from-in-situ-swamp-peat model, when the model is
>unsupported by *direct* evidence to the contrary.

As noted above, there is some evidence in its favor. But even if we
suddenly discover that the organics came from marsh grasses, that doesn't
necessarily prove a global flood.

>As I envision the process leading to the features we observe in coals, I
>believe the Mt. St. Helens model of catastrophic stripping of *all*
>vegetation from the land (not just peat from pre-flood swamps) is more
>likely. This would produce massive floating mats of vegetation and
>avoid your objections to washing peat intact from swamps to the seas.
>After the initial catastrophic erosion and deposition of sediments,
>waterlogged organics from floating mats of vegetation would begin to
>settle to the bottom and subsequent burial, perhaps by turbidity flows,
>would avoid your objection that 90% of organics decay before becoming
>peat. These organics would not go through the swamp-to-peat process,
>but would be buried as intact parts of plants and then go through the
>peat-to-coal process, with little or no decay of the organics. IOW,
>virtually 100% of the organic material would be converted to coal.

If these mats were floating on the surface they could circle the globe at a
drift of merely 3 miles per hour. So why do we find coal piled up in
certain places? What anchored the mats in these localities. If the mats
were drifting and dumping at the same time there should be thin layers of
coal all over the place. As it is this is not what we find. We find coal
piled up in some places but in others, like Dallas, we find none. And the
thicknesses and number of coal seams is incredible.

Kos-Yu 8-17 seams . 6 to 2.83 m arctic urals
Chelyabinsk 5-30 seams 50-200 m total thickness arctic urals
~D. V. Nalivkin, Geology of the U. S. S. R., translated by N.
Rast, (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1973), p. 375-376

10-12 m seams in Karaganda coal field~D. V. Nalivkin, Geology of
the U. S. S. R., translated by N. Rast, (Toronto: Toronto
University Press, 1973), p. 470

The Balakhonkian Suite has the
richest coals. It is 800-2700 m thick and has 28 seams, varying
from 0.75 to 18 m in individual thickness and 78 m total
thickness. The Kolchuginian Formation and in particular the
Yerunakovian Suite is 2600 m thick and has 45 workable seams of a
total thickness of 75 m. The Lower Jurassic measures have not
been sufficiently studied and are not being worked. There are 10
Jurassic, workable coals of a total thickness of 18 m." 171 m
total thickness"~D. V. Nalivkin, Geology of the U. S. S. R.,
translated by N. Rast, (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1973),
p. 470

>> 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.
>Just because you believe the global flood to be mythological is no
>reason to deny the obvious sedimentary features (deposited from water)
>of coal. As far as I am concerned, we can forget, for the time being,
>the implications of a global flood and just concentrate on whether coal
>is an in situ swamp deposit or is a deposit formed from transported

I don't believe that you can have long distance transport of the organics
because they would disperse, not stay together.

>> To be more specific, I can't and you can't explain the features of the
>> Pittsburg coal seam.
>You can't explain because you have a model inconsistent with the data;
>to say I can't is wishful thinking on your part. :-)

I am always known for making good birthday wishes. :-)

Of the Pittsburg coal seam,

>> How do you explain the remarkable uniformity of thickness within a global
>This uniformity of thicknesses can *only* (as far as I can see) be
>explained in the context of water-transported processes. And since coal
>with these same features underlies much (perhaps half before erosion
>removed some coal deposits) of the U.S., and since coal is found on
>every continent, then this process for the Pittsburg coal does have
>global implications. As I currently envision what happened, vegetation
>was stripped from the continents by massive waves of water. The
>mechanics of what caused this flooding are speculative, but one scenario
>would involve a comet, which I understand can be 50% water, striking the
>earth. The water from the comet would vaporize in the atmosphere and
>then fall as rain/snow/hail. If the rock portions of the comet hit the
>oceans, this would create tsunamis which might wash over the continents,
>and would also cast major loads of water up into the atmosphere.

And you believe that the organics can remain together after such a crushing

>Regardless of how the floating mat of vegetation came to be, it
>eventually floated, in this case, over the Pittsburg area, and rained
>organics down on the sea floor. During this process, turbidity currents
>of soft sediment, perhaps dislodged by earthquakes, mixed with seawater,
>flowed out across the organic-covered sea floor and deposited planar
>layers of silt which later became the shale interbeds described above by
>Corliss. So we see that the entire process to form the coal seams and
>the shale interbeds fits nicely within a single, relatively short-term,
>sedimentary process.

Why is there no "trail" of deposited organics as the vegetative mat floated
away especially across today's ocean basins? There is no coal ever found in
the ocean basins. If vegetative masses were the cause of coals I would
expect that 70% of the coals would be found there since they occupy 70% of
the surface area of the earth.

>The only reason the swamp model of coal formation persists is because of
>the over-riding influence of the paradigm of long ages and long, slow
>processes such as we see today. Thus clear, direct evidence is
>sidelined as insignificant in light of the broader theory. It is my
>contention that, in this case at least, the broader theory is
>fundamentally flawed.
>Glenn has said that the reason he believes the flood was local is
>because there is no evidence of a world-wide flood. I would say that
>the world-wide occurrence of water-borne organics now preserved in coal
>seams, all found in the same general section of the geologic column, is
>suggestive of concurrent, global flooding.

It is not world wide. I don't think western Oklahoma or West Texas have coals.

>I know that there are problems with this global-flood model, such as the
>fish series cited by Glenn. But, rather than dismiss what I have said
>about coal by spraying the air with all of the problems, let's stay on
>target for a bit and discuss various interpretations of the direct
>evidence for the origin of coal.

I will try to behave myself. :-)


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