Re: coal again!

Keith B Miller (
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 22:24:48 -0600

Bill wrote:

>I appreciate your input. Briefly, I have now seen rootlets, axial root
>systems, tree trunks and tree stumps, all associated with coal seams, so
>lack of preservation is _not_ the reason the root systems are not
>preserved. Gastaldo's paper clearly states that stigmarian axial root
>systems did in fact penetrate the substrate, and he includes a picture in
>his 1984 paper of several examples.

You argued that you have _not_ seen "intensely and deeply rooted underclays
with little or no interbedded structure." Furthermore you state that such
observations would invalidate your model.

I replied that such would not be expected because rooting is not readily
preserved, and the evidence for paleosols rest with the macro- and
microstructural features. Saturated soils are characteristically not
deeply or intensely rooted soils. (I never stated that no roots are
present!) In addition, I state that water saturated soils are poorly
developed and often retain some of their depositional fabric. Therefore,
what you demand for falsification of your interpretation is invalid, since
it is not the expectation of the in situ model of coal formation. By
disallowing all evidence other than what you choose, you effectively
insulate your position from falsification. Paleosols below coal are a
reality, by the standards used to describe and recognize any other
paleosols. You have already admitted that you are not knowledgable about
paleosols, and that you do not have time to read the literature. Until you
do, I do not see how you can dismiss the in situ origin of carboniferous


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506