Re: Coal and theYEC position

Bill Payne (
Tue, 21 Apr 1998 23:02:03 -0600

21 Apr 1998 19:41:13 -0500, Glenn Morton wrote:

> I have pointed you to this before but you said that it sounded like a
> turbidite deposit. It isn't. It is a set of meandering streams as the map
> that goes with this text clearly shows.


If you say I called meandering streams a turbidite, I must have, but I
agree with you that meandering stream deposits form by sediment-laden
water flowing across subaerial land. In this case I would say that the
shallow sea receded long enough for the stream channel to form and
deposit sand, which could happen in less than a day, and then the sea
could have transgressed again and buried the channel deposit with
submarine deposits of shale, limestone and coal (all of which are found
associated with the Kentucky No. 9 through Kentucky No. 12 coals).

"Although the coastal plain swamp environment provides a possible modern
analogue for the [Kentucky] No. 12 coal bed, it fails to explain several
important characteristics of the coal: (1) the mechanism for
emplacement of thin and widespread marine shale partings, (2) the lack
of rooting of lithotypes, (3) the abrupt succession of bright lithotypes
and miospores of arborescent plants just above partings, and (4) the
unusual intertonguing of coal with marine roof strata. These problems
are best resolved if the coal was deposited below an extensive floating
mat. An environment ideal for the production of a floating mat is
indicated by the stratigraphic data. Carbonaceous shale partings, bony
coal bands, and fusain clast conglomerate appear to have been deposited
below the mat by short-lived density currents generated by turbulent
water in marine areas marginal to the mat. Clarain, the most abundant
lithotype, was produced in quiet, shallower water generally removed from
the margin of the mat. Vitrain, which is common near intertonguing
marine rocks, appears to have formed primarily at the margin of the mat
where lycopods were dominant, and where currents and wanes were
stronger." (from Abstract of: Depositional Environment of the Kentucky
No. 12 Coal Bed (Middle Pennsylvanian) of Western Kentucky, with Special
Reference to the Origin of Coal Lithotypes, Steven Arthur Austin,
Pennsylvania State University Thesis for PhD, 1979)

> >I see your point. What I'm trying to emphasize is that the shale
> >interbeds would seem to require subaqueous deposition, and therefore the
> >entire coal sequence is subaqueous.
> Swamp floors are subaqueous.

Glenn. The swamp floors I have seen always have trees sticking up, and
the trees have roots penetrating the soil below. Tell us how you're
going to get 15,000 square miles of 4-inch thich shale sandwiched
between beds of coal with no tree trunks or roots in either the coals or
the shales, yet with fossil tree fragments in the coal.

> Swamps are subaqueous and lakes are subaqueous and they
> preserve organic matter and there is no flood occuring today.

And, there are no organic beds collecting in swamps or lakes (except My.
St. Helens) which would exhibit the uninterrupted thin-bedded structure
characteristic of Carboniferous coals.
> "Frazier and Osanik reported peat accumulations as much as 6
> m thick between natural levees along the Teche and Lafourche
> Bayous in the Mississippi Delta. These peat beds are derived
> from forest swamp vegetation, mostly cypress and gum, that
> accumulated in broad, subsiding inland flood basins during
> progradational-aggradational river phases. Analyses of these
> peat beds indicated that they contain less than 1 percent sulfur
> and about 15 percent ash."~Henry W. roehler, Depositional
> Environments of coal-Bearing and Associated Formations of the
> Cretaceous Age in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, U.S.
> Geological Survey Bulletin 1575, (Washington: U.S. Government
> Printing Office, 1987), p. 13

I can imagine that this occurence of peat would exhibit the structure of
coal; only trouble is, these are *FLOOD BASINS*, not swamps!

> yes, that is exactly what I am saying. And it is the way science and logic
> work. If there were a global flood and coals were deposited by floating mats
> of vegetation, then since 70% of the earth is ocean basin, probabilistically
> we should expect about 70% of the coals to be dumped by mats in deep water.
> observationally we find 100% of the coals on the continental platforms. This
> means that there were no mats over the oceans, in spite of the fact that
> this would be expected during the flood.

IMHO, this is not a good example of science and logic, Glenn. You are
using your imagination to justify ignoring empirical data, simply
because it runs counter to your view of a local flood. You say there is
no evidence of a global flood; I point out evidence which does in fact
suggest a global flood, and you dream up reasons why the evidence can't
be valid. The evidence for the allochthonous (transported) origin of
the Pittsburg Coal stands firm, regardless of whether you like the
extrapolated implications or not.

> As to "positive evidence" not proving the flood. Even if the Pittsburg coal
> is subaqueous, it doesn't prove a global flood because: 1. it might have
> been a local flood like Spirit Lake at Mt. St. Helen's you like to point
> out,

Yes, I agree. However, phase 2 of this discussion, if I last that long,
will show the allochthonous origin of other Carboniferous coals in North
America, Eurasia, and the southern hemisphere - coal seams from around
the world, all of the same age and all allochthonous.

2. it might have been due to marsh plants (the floor of a marsh is
> subaqueous)

Again, I agree. However, the study of macroscopic and microscopic
features of coal (see my other post tonight) reveals woody material and
bark from trees. It is difficult to imagine how all those tree parts
got carried into marshes.

3. inorganic origin of coal.

I'm not familiar with this one. Could you elaborate?

> The Pittsburgh coal seam does not rule out the other possibilities but the
> lack of coal in the oceans rules out free-floating vegetable mats.

Maybe the continents slid around and scraped the ocean floors clean.
All of that heat would have been soaked up by the endothermic reactions
converting peat to coal. :-)

> See above, the meandering sandy partings are the channels through the swamp.

Not so. See below above.