A lot of coal is lycopod periderm "bark"

James Mahaffy (mahaffy@dordt.edu)
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 14:14:29 -0500 (CDT)

bill payne responded to Glenn writing.
> 13 Apr 1998 04:56:18 -0500, Glenn Morton wrote:
> > I don't get the feeling from the above that there is lots and lots of bark.
> > But I may be wrong.
The petrography of Carboniferous Coals is well known (it would differ
from more recent brown coals [[whose petrography is also well known]].

In this case Bill is more right then Glenn but that does NOT mean I buy
his theory of the origin of coal. One of the major things
that makes up a lot of the volume of these coals is the periderm (bark)
of lycopod trees. Unlike angiosperm or gymnosperm tress MOST of the
trunk of these trees came from an outer bark with only a little xylem
(woody tissue) in the center. Several recent researchers (Bill DiMichele
and T.L. Phillips) have spent most of their professional life analyzing
the vegetational material of the peat of these Pennsylvanian coal-swamps
from calcareous concretions (coal balls) found in many of these coal
seams. We don't need to go on hypothesis here. The composition of the
peat is in many cases well known. In fact one of the fist things
scientists used to study coal in England and Europe was thin section
looking a the components of the coal (petrology).

> I really think you are mistaken, at least in the case of vitrain coal,
> which is the class of bituminuous coal I'm most familiar with here in
> Alabama. Table 2.1 (from _Handbook of Practical Coal Geology_, by Larry
> Thomas, 1992, Wiley & Sons, p 6) lists 6 lithotypes of coal: Vitrain,
> Clarian, Durain, Fusain, Cannel coal, and Boghead coal. Vitrain is
> described as "black, very bright lustre; thin layers break cubically;
> thick layers have conchoidal fracture." The other five lithotypes have
> lustres described respectively as: medium, dull, silky, 'greasy', and
> dull or 'greasy'.

> > the large bark content of coal. This is not the proper way to handle the
> > chain of logic. First prove that bark is a major constituent of coal. then
> > we can deal with this.
> I'd be happy to hear your rebuttal if you think vitrain coal is not
> comprised of "woody tissue". What does *your* research show?
> > I thought that the entire globe was covered in water and that all the high
> > mountains were covered by the flood. So how do you have mountains sticking

James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy@dordt.edu
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250