Re: Coal and theYEC position

Bill Payne (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 02:46:19 -0600

22 Apr 1998 21:12:36 -0500, Glenn Morton wrote:

> First off, Bill, don't confuse what I have said. I will grant you that
> there are most definitely coals that are formed mainly from wood. But I
> will not grant you all of them.

Why not? Because you have empirical data to the contrary or because you
are philosophically troubled by coal from trees with no roots or trunks
preserved upright in the coal?

> Secondly, if you want trees associated with
> the coal seams surely you wouldn't disagree with Creationist Andrew Snelling
> would you?
> he said:
> "If we go to the Newcastle coalfield north of Sydney, what we do
> find is tree stumps sitting on top of the coal seam. These tree
> stumps have their roots broken off indicating that they were
> ripped up from another location where they grew, transported here
> where they were buried."~Andrew Snelling, Raging Waters Video
> from Answers in Genesis.

I agree with Snelling; I see the same thing in Alabama.

> Now, his claim that the roots are broken off may be nothing more than the
> roots turning to coal while the trunks are silicified by the overlying
> sands.

Just because roots and/or trunks are coalified would not require that
they disappear. The relict structure should still be visible, even if
it is compressed 10x. If vertical or oblique structure is not visible
in the coal, I contend that it was never there in the first place.

> He shows a picture and it looks like the trunks are silicified. A
> friend of mine saw the same thing in a coal bed in East Texas as a graduate
> student. The silicified trunk came out of the lignite at an angle of about
> 30 degrees the upper part was silicified the lower was coalified. Since
> this was a very immature lignite, he could still see the tree below the
> sand/coal interface.

If this is lignite, the age is likely younger than Carboniferous and may
be from a post-flood swamp. If the observations support a swamp, even
in the Carboniferous, I'd be willing to grant you a swamp. I just don't
see the supporting data in the Carboniferous.

> Also if you want tree stumps associated with coal then try
> N.A. Rupke, "Prolegomena to a Study of Cataclysmal Sedimentation," Creation
> Research Soc. Quarterly, p. 16-37
> Once again a respectable creationist source. Rupke shows trees coming out
> of the coal beds. But it is important that he does not give a case of a tree
> going through another coal bed. Only in this way could you prove that the
> coal bed was deposited catastrophically. Remember the 1993 Mississippi River
> Floods? They covered trees with several feet of sediment and produced
> incipient polystrate fossils. But no coal beds were deposited by this event
> and no future polystrate trees will go through a coal bed. Coals can be on
> the bottom of the tree or a new coal form on top of the buried tree in a
> naturalistic scenario. thus in order to prove catastrophism you must have a
> polystrate go THROUGH a coal seam and I know of none.

Multiple thin shale partings in coal covering 1,500 km2 in the Illinois
Basin or 15,000 mi2 in the Pittsburg Coal won't do it for you, huh
Glenn? You gotta have a tree trunk punching completely THROUGH a coal
seam? Bill Hamilton dinged me for denigrating indirect data as compared
to direct data; I was wrong - you're not relying on indirect data but
*imaginary* data. You will forever be able to dream up some reason why
black is actually white. Are you into post modernism? :-))))

Let me throw one out for you to explain. William Corliss (Unknown
Earth: A Handbook of Geological Enigmas, pp 148-153) mentions erratic
bolders found in coal seams in England and the US. Steve Austin's
"CatastroRef" provides the following:

>>294 Branson, Carl C., and Meraitt, C. A., 1963, An igneous
cobble in an Oklahoma coal bed: Oklahoma Geology Notes, vol. 23,
no. 10, pp. 235-241.

"Exotics," boulders or cobbles of composition other than the
surrounding bedrock, are a common occurrence in coal seams from
Oklahoma to Pennsylvania. Several such occurrences are known from
coal seams in England. The exotics are frequently composed of
granitic or other igneous material, although rock types such as
quartz and quartzite are also commonly reported. The exotics are
embedded in coal seams whose surrounding bedrock is sedimentary.
Nearly all the exotics are finds in Pennsylvanian coals. Several
theories have been advanced to explain their occurrence, Some
consider them glacially transported. Others have postulated a
meteoritic source. It is very likely that the boulders were
attached to roots of floating trees, therefore indicating they
were transported in rafts of marine plants. This has great
implications for the origin of these Pennsylvanian coals. If
these are indeed transported trees, then this lends great support
to the neocatastrophist view that the major persistent
Carboniferous coal seams were formed by an allochthonous

Key words: erratics; boulders; cobbles; exotic boulders; coal;
Oklahoma; allochthonous processes; transportation


Erratic boulders are also found in some Alabama coals. A geologist told
me of a boulder of pink granite found in an Alabama coal seam. He said
the closest occurrence of in situ pink granite *might* be South
Carolina! A coal miner in northwest AL told me of occasional layers of
"white rocks" which they find in the Mary Lee Coal Seam. He didn't like
the white rocks in the coal because they have to pick them out by hand
before they process the coal.

These erratic bolders are no problem for me, but how would you explain
their presence within your grass marshes or swamps?

Steve, it would be really nice of you to help Glenn before he drowns in
this darned flood. :-)

Take care,