The 'in situ' theory of coal

c.g. winder (
Wed, 31 Mar 1999 15:00:46 -0500 (EST)

Allow me to add an historical perspective .
This theory was proposed by William Logan who studied the Carboniferous
south Wales coal beds which he mapped in the 1830's. His paper was
published in the bulletin of the Royal Institute of South Wales, 1840,
located in Swansesa. Logan, as the manager of a copper smelter plant,
recognized he needed a guaranteed supply of coal, and an estimate of the
reserves was essential. So without any previous experience he mapped the
basin using theodolite, barometer and government survey maps. His cross
sections were drawn to true scale.
Subsequently he examined Carboniferous coal beds in Pennsylvania, and at
Joggins Nova Scotia, where he found the same Stigmaria, that were present
in Wales. In his view the Stigmaria and other vegetation was the source of
the vegetation which formed the coal beds. He proposed the in situ
and rejected the 'drift' theory, which was associate with the Flood.
Logan was a confirmed 'old earther' --- and a Presbyterian!!!
I have seen the Stigmaria at Joggins, a 14,000+ foot section well worth
visiting. I have also mapped Cretaceous bituminous in western Alberta and
seen Cretaceous lignites in northern Ontario, and saw nothing which could
be called a Stigmaria. Maybe the type of vegetation evolved --
woooooops!!! excuse the word!!!
Logan was the first director of the Geological of Canada, 1842-1869. I
have a webpage on Logan <>.
In a poll conducted for MACLEANS, Canada's national news magazine,
Logan was designated the #1 scientist - not geologist - SCIENTIST in
Canadian history. His name is attached to numerous geographical features
including Mount Logan in the southwest corner of the Yukom, the second
highest mountain in North America.

C. Gordon Winder, UWO Earth Sciences London Canada