Re: coal again!

Bill Payne (
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 21:06:54 -0600

On Sun, 18 Apr 1999 16:21:37 -0500 (Keith B Miller)

>The only cases of preserved stumps and trees that I have seen (which are
>few) have extended from the top of the coal into the overlying sediment.
>In these cases the encasing sediment was of tidal origin.

I have several questions regarding these observations of yours.

1) Could you follow the tree stumps down into the coal, cross cutting
what I assume would have been the horizontal laminations in the coal, and
see the roots extending out from the stumps, or did the stumps appear to
terminate when they met the underlying coal? IOW, you seem convinced
that the stumps were in situ, and you have stated repeatedly that the
roots would stay within the organics rather than penetrating the
underlying soil, so my question is, did you actually see evidence of the
stump and roots in the coal, or is it possible that the stumps floated in
and settled out of water onto the top of the organic mat?

2) Assuming you can answer affirmatively to Question 1, if coals are
from swamps, why is it so rare that we observe evidence of stumps in coal
cross cutting horizontal laminations, and why is it so rare that we see
evidence of the stumps/trunks penetrating the overlying sediments?

3) If you answered negatively to Question 1, then why is it that we
_never_ (in your and my experience) see stumps cross cutting horizontal
laminations in coal?

4) You previously stated that you agree with Gastaldo. In his 1984
paper, page 108, Gastaldo states: "That the stigmarian axial systems
embedded within the underclays (paleosols) of coals represent stands of
lycopods in non-peat and peat accumulating environments is
unquestionable." In light of your statement below, do you agree with
this statement of Gastaldo? If so, how do you reconcile the two?

>Modern trees on saturated substrates do not send down penetrating roots.
>There is no need to send down roots for water, and the roots need to
>access to oxygen to respire. Their roots are thus very shallow. It is
>likely that the soil features and rooting observed in paleosols
>the coals is unrelated to the conditions (climatically, and
>that existed during peat formation. [snip] Furthermore the underclays
you and >Gastaldo describe are not "intensely" rooted anyway.

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