From: Bill Payne (
Date: Fri May 17 2002 - 00:53:17 EDT

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    Glenn has graciously agreed to post some coal photos of mine on his web
    site for a week while we discuss the origin of coal deposits. I haven't
    been able to access them yet so I don't have the location, but they
    should be up on his site.

    The two basic theories of coal deposition are that coal is a collection
    or organics which were deposited in a swamp and buried in situ (known as
    the autochthonous model), or that coal consisits of organics that grew in
    one area, were then ripped up and transported by water, and finally
    settled out of suspension (known as the allochthonous model).

    It is my contention that the field observations generally support the
    allochthonous model, but that the autochthonous model is preferred by
    most geologists because it better fits with their paradigm of long slow
    gradual processes of erosion and deposition.

    On Fri, 3 May 2002 06:05:46 -0700 "Glenn Morton"
    <> writes:
    > >-----Original Message-----
    > >From: Bill Payne []
    > >Sent: Thursday, May 02, 2002 7:43 PM
    > >
    > >On Thu, 2 May 2002 06:38:42 -0700 "Glenn Morton"
    > ><> writes:
    > >We also both know that there is nothing planar about the Okefenokee,
    > >eastern US coals primarily have planar, sharp contacts with the
    > >and with partings in the coal. And these planar coals may cover
    > >thousands of square miles.
    > >
    > >Now, Glenn, will you admit that the evidence regarding these coal
    > >in the eastern US points toward an allochthonous origin, even though
    > >cover most of the eastern half of the continent?
    > >
    > >As you should know, your answer will carry a lot of baggage if you are
    > >willing to follow the evidence where it leads. To date, you have
    > >the implications through the use of some microscopic analogy like the
    > >Okefenokee.
    > Bill, what the Pennsylvanian cyclothems lead to is a broad flat plain
    > which tiny changes in sea level cause the sea shore to move many miles.
    > Something like the Rann of Cutch is what had to be there. In such a
    > area, the sedimentation rate is low so a change from shale to peat
    > deposition will appear to the geologist to have happened quite rapidly
    > (sharp contact).

    But when the trees are established and peat deposition begins, the roots
    of the trees will penetrate the substrate and destroy any horizontal
    bedding. In the photos I sent to you, there are two tree trunks (one
    about 6 inches across and the other about 15 inches across at the base)
    and one set of tree roots in another photo. These roots, over the
    hundreds of years it takes for the organics to collect in a swamp to form
    a foot of coal, would thoroughly penetrate the substrate and result in a
    gradational zone from low ash (almost pure organics) in the coal to high
    ash (almost no organics) some distance below the coal. The thickness of
    the gradational zone would be dependent upon the thickness of the root
    zone - which should have been at least several feet. There are two
    photos of core (2-inch diameter) showing the base of two coal seams
    (labelled as Core close-up, and Core coal-shale contact) from a drill
    hole about 30 miles west of Birmingham, Alabama. Both show a razor-thin
    contact of coal and shale or underclay.

    There are two photos of a chunk of coal with a US $0.25 coin for scale.
    These photos show the horizontal bedding typical of eastern US coal
    seams. If these coals were autochthnous, the vertical trunks of growing
    trees and roots cutting across bedding should have interrupted the
    horizontal structure of the coals. Such interruptions are extremely

    There is one photo of the top of a coal seam and its contact with
    overlying shale (Core - shale/coal contact). If this had been a swamp
    with trees growing in it, which was then flooded and buried with
    sediment, the trees growing in the swamp would have been preserved in
    upright position, and their bases would still be seen in the coal and/or
    substrate. The sharp contact at the top of the coal is typical, and
    upright tree trunks attached to roots are rare.

    > Bill, there is nothing new in what I am saying, most people hold to
    such a
    > view for the Pennsylvanian coal seams.

    This is an appeal to authority. You have done what you accuse the YECs
    of, ignoring data for the sake of preserving your model.

    > You think you can turn it inot a YEC argument. That dog won't hunt for
    anyone but you.

    The argument here is how to interpret the data. If you have
    misinterpreted this body of data, then it is possible that other data has
    also been misinterpreted. By extension, it is possible that YEC has more
    support than any of us realize.

    > glenn
    > see
    > for lots of creation/evolution information
    > anthropology/geology/paleontology/theology\
    > personal stories of struggle
    > >

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