Re: Coal and the YEC position

Steven Schimmrich (
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 16:09:18 -0400

I've been watching Bill Payne (I still plan on replying to the last Coconino
post by the way, I just haven't had time to run to a decent library which I have
to do since Kutztown's is seriously lacking in geological journals) and Glenn
Morton argue about the formation of coal vis-a-vis Austin's floating mat model
and have stayed out of it due to serious demands on my time these past few weeks.
I did, however, stumble upon a publication on my bookshelf (I forget I have things
sometimes) that bears directly on this issue:

Gastaldo, Robert A. 1984 (Reprinted 1996). A case against pelagochthony:
The untenability of carboniferous arborescent lycopod-dominated floating
peat mats. In: Walker, K.R. (ed.) The Evolution-Creation Controversy:
Perspectives on Religion, Philosophy, Science and Education. The
Paleontological Society, Special Publication 1. Pages 97-116.

Robert Gastaldo is a professor at Auburn University in Alabama who studies
plant taphonomy, paleobotany, and paleoecology (i.e. someone well qualified
to address this issue). His web page (and check out his impressive publications
list) is at:

You might be able to order the publication above through the Paleontological
Society web page at:

I think I only paid $5.00 for it at a GSA meeting and I'd be willing to FAX or
mail a copy of the paper to Glenn or Bill if they would like me to do so.

Anyway, my point in posting this is to ask Bill Payne to comment on Gastaldo's
serious critique of Austin's model. Arguing with Glenn is one thing, but he's a
geophysicist, not an expert on lycopods and plant taphonomy (I mean no offense but
I know how it is to try to argue an issue outside of my area of expertise).
Gastaldo, on the other hand, has spent his life studying plant fossils in coals and
therefore his critiques should be seriously addressed by any young-earth creationists
pushing a floating peat mat model for the formation of coal. So how about it Bill,
want to tell us why Gastaldo is wrong? He concludes that:

"An evaluation of the floating mat hypothesis in perspective demonstrates
the untenable nature of the hypothesis." (p. 111)

- Steve.

   Steven H. Schimmrich
   Physical Sciences Department (office)
   Kutztown University      (home)
   217 Grim Science Building         610-683-4437, 610-683-1352 (fax)
   Kutztown, Pennsylvania 19530