Re: Coal

From: Bill Payne (
Date: Sun May 26 2002 - 00:52:02 EDT

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    On Mon, 20 May 2002 21:41:26 -0700 "Glenn Morton"
    <> writes:

    > Bill, as I have many times said, transported material is seen today in
    > Okefenokee. So what. We aren't having a global flood today, that I am
    > of. Glub glub.... Transported material is occurring today, and does
    > violate any 'model' that I might have. Why do you never pick up on this
    > point. [snip]

    > Even in the Okefenokee, there is transported peat. So why should you
    try to
    > force me into a given point of view about coal? That seems to
    > that you desparately desire me to play the role you have assigned me in
    > debate. [snip]

    I'm sorry that you feel I have "assigned" you a role here. We've
    discussed these things before, but without photos. I thought the photos
    might help us to communicate better, which is why I wanted to revisit
    this issue.

    > How about transported IN A SWAMP? That does happen in the Okefenokee
    > as I have pointed out to you many, many times. [snip]

    Hi Glenn,

    You keep coming back to the Okefenokee so I guess in your mind that is
    the end of the discussion. I'm afraid though, that you are not listening
    to what I have said. Let me repeat what I think I have said before, and
    ask you to tell me how to resolve what I see as glaring inconsistencies
    between the empirical data and the swamp model.

    First of all, I do not deny that vegetation mats float and are grounded
    in the Okefenokee Swamp. These mats are a tangled mass of roots, stems,
    tree trunks, limbs, leaves, etc. If this mass of vegetation were
    vertically compressed 10 times and coalified, it would still reflect the
    tangled nature of the original mat. If a one-inch layer of volcanic ash
    were deposited across the swamp, it would blanket everything and follow
    the topography of the swamp. If the swamp existed for another 1,000
    years after the volcanic ash layer was deposited, we would find that the
    ash layer had been eroded where it draped across water courses. The ash
    layer would also be disturbed by bioturbation from growing trees.

    If this hypothetical swamp were then buried due to land subsidence and
    marine flooding, the trees growing in the swamp would be preserved in
    growth position, with their roots attached. The organics from the swamp
    might eventually become coal, and the sediments might become rock. We
    would then have a coal seam which was derived from a swamp. What would
    be the features of this sequence?

    Here are features commonly found associated with eastern US coal seams:
    A) General lack of stigmarian axial root systems beneath the coal seams;
    B) General lack of either tree stumps or roots in partings;
    C) General lack of vertical tree stumps/trunks in the sediment overlying
    coal seams, and general lack of attached roots where vertical tree
    stumps/trunks are found;
    D) Generally consistent total coal seam thickness between areas
    containing splits and those that contain no splits;
    E) Commonly extensive, continuous nature of thin partings;
    F) Generally consistent thickness of coal seams draped over
    contemporaneous slopes.

    We would not expect to see any one of these features in a swamp deposit,
    yet you get all six in coal seams. As I said recently when you mentioned
    the Okefenokee, there is nothing planar about a swamp. Yet the top and
    bottom contacts of coal, along with any partings or splits, and the
    internal structure of coal are all planar and were, for the most part,
    nearly horizontal at the time of deposition. The Okefenokee has water
    courses, vegatative islands, trees with trunks growing up and roots
    growing down. None of this is horizontal (except on a macro scale), and
    would not be planar, even if compressed 10 times.

    So Glenn, I do accept your statement that there are drifting vegetation
    mats in the Okefenokee; I do not accept your implication that these
    drifting vegetation mats in any way explain the coal seams we see in the
    eastern US. But maybe I have missed something here. Can you or Jonathan
    or Michael or anyone reconcile the empirical observations, as seen in the
    photos you have posted for me, with the swamp model for coal formation?


    P.S: Have fun in Florence!

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