Re: coal again!

Bill Payne (
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 00:04:11 -0600

Opps, sorry I sent this before I was finished. :-(

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

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

A point of clarification: I have not seen "intensely and deeply rooted
underclays", but I have seen (macroscopically) unbedded underclays, I
think. I need to start paying more attention to underclay bedding or
lack thereof.

>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.
>what you demand for falsification of your interpretation is invalid,
>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
>do, I do not see how you can dismiss the in situ origin of carboniferous

This is a little frustrating because I have tried to candidly state what
I have observed and why I draw the inferences I do. Have you read
Gastaldo's paper? I agree with his observations of axial root systems
penetrating the soil at varying angles, I have seen these root systems
preserved in strata above and below coal seams, but never immediately
below any coal. It is not a question of lack of preservation of the
larger structures because I have seen tree trunks immediately below two
coal seams. If the tree trunks were preserved in the zone where the
axial roots should have been, and if the axial roots were preserved in
strata associated with but not immediately below a coal seam, then the
simplest interpretation is that what we see is what was buried, and that
there were no disappearing roots. If you want to maintain that the axial
roots were entirely in the coal, then I would ask why we see no evidence
of stumps in the coal to which the roots were connected (in the
autochthonous or swamp model). It appears to me that the stumps and
trunks were floating and then settled out of water along with the axial
roots - which are always, in my observations, detached from the stumps.

If you disagree with me, then you also disagree with Gastaldo, who is
very familiar with the literature as he lists two or three (as I recall)
pages of references at the end of his 1984 paper. Why don't you tell us
where Gastaldo got off track with his assertion that "The variable angle
of axial penetration and their cross-cutting relationships, the helical
and undistrubed arrangement of the 'rootlets', and the abiotically
undisturbed sediment surrounding the axial/appendage system, lend support
to their autochthonous character."?

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