So. Baptist Spin on Coal

From: Bill Payne (
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 23:53:46 EDT

  • Next message: "Arp"

    On Thu, 07 Jun 2001 20:45:01 +1000 Jonathan Clarke
    <> writes:

    > Three things I am sure I have said before. Firstly swamps don't need
    to have
    > trees growing on their tops. Many (thought not all) modern peat bogs
    > treeless. Why should ancient ones necessarily have been different? To
    > coal forming bogs to have been covered in trees and claim that bog
    > have been falsified is to use a straw man argument.

    When I discussed this w/ Glenn several years ago on the ACG, Glenn tried
    to say that these were treeless bogs covered with grass, until he
    realized that grass didn't evolve until the Cretaceous. According to
    James, the "ancient ones" were different in that the majority of the coal
    consists of tree parts. Gastaldo has documented tree trunks vertically
    over the Mary Lee coal seam. I have seen tree trunks above, below, and
    between coal seams. I think your straw man allegation is a bunch of
    feathers. :-)

    > Secondly trees are reported growing from the tops of at least some
    coals in
    > the eastern US. See T. Demko and R. A. Gastaldo "Paludal environments
    of the
    > Mary Lee coal zone, Pottsville Formation, Alabama: stacked clastic
    swamps and
    > mires" (International Journal of Coal Geology 20 (1992): 23-47) figure
    > (sketch) and figure 6 (generalised diagram); R. A. Gastaldo
    "Implications on
    > the paleoecology of autochthonous lycopods in clastic
    sedimentaryenvironments of the > Early Pennsylvanian of Alabama"
    (Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, >
    > Palaeoecology 53(1986): 191-212) figure 1 (generalised architecture)
    and figure 3 (wall > map). For non-US examples (and to show these are
    not just figments of the
    > imagination of the dreaded Gastaldo) see J. W. Dawson "On the
    coal-measures of the > south Joggins, Nova Scotia" (Quarterly Journal of
    the Geological Society of London 10
    > (1854): 1-41) figures 2, 5 and 8 (all field sketches); J. H. Calder,
    M. R. Gibling, C. F.
    > Eble, A. C. Scott, and D. J. MacNeil "The Westphalian D fossil
    lepidodendrid forest at
    > Table Head, Sydney Basin, Nova Scotia: sedimentology, paleoecology
    > and floral response to changing edaphic conditions" (International
    Journal of
    > Coal Geology 31(1996): 277-313) figures 2 & 3 (stratigraphic logs)
    figure 4
    > (long section), figures 6a & 7b (photographs). What was that about
    > weary of people criticizing ideas but refusing to address the data?

    Ah, my friend, you are much too ready to accept the opinions of others
    (you should believe me and no one else :-)). A year or so ago I saw a
    Powerpoint presentation of a study by a geologist (OEC) and a friend of
    his (professor in the field of humanities who did the presentation) on
    the Blue Creek/Mary Lee stratigraphic section. The Blue Creek coal
    underlies the Mary Lee and in this mine (Cedrum Mine in Walker County,
    Alabama); they are separated by about 20 feet of shale and/or sandstone.

    The presenter showed photographs of, I'm guessing, more than 50 vertical
    tree trunks in the interval between the Blue Creek and Mary Lee. *None*
    of these trees had roots attached. One photograph in particular was a
    closeup of the base of a tree, and clearly showed that the trunk was
    truncated, not rooted.

    This is the same area and the same Mary Lee interval that Gastaldo
    interpreted as "stacked clastic swamps." I have an abstract which I
    guess is for the article you referenced above. I didn't realize he had
    authored an article; thanks for the references - I'll try to get them.
    You mentioned "figure 3 (sketch) and figure 6 (generalised diagram)."
    Did Bob publish any photographs or only sketches?

    > Thirdly, as you should well know, layering in coals can have many
    > You have to be specific. I think we have discussed here and on the ACG
    > compaction, sediment seams, formed by flooding of swamps, and ash
    > Unless you have something new to add I don't see much point discussing

    "Sediment seams, formed by flooding of swamps, and ash falls" *prove*
    what I am saying. If these were swamps, and if these swamps had trees
    growing in them, them the sediment seams and ash layers (partings) in
    coal seams would be interrupted by the trunks of the standing trees.
    James, I know you don't accept my interpretation, but will you please
    help me out here and confirm the continuity of the partings?

    A review of Arp's _Seeing Red_ may be found at:

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