Re: Big Root

From: Kevin Sharman <>
Date: Fri Jan 02 2004 - 12:03:32 EST

  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Friday, January 02, 2004 8:03 AM
  Subject: Re: Big Root

  Hi Kevin,

  Just a few comments. Thanks for the wider-angle photo of what is described on Glenn's site ( as "Big root." If others want to see the photo you sent to me offline, let me know and I'll forward it as an attachment (I don't think we can do attachments on the ASA site).

  Beneath the word "Big" in the photo on Glenn's site (to the left of the top of the big root about 6 inches) is a dark circular object, which appears to to be a root in cross-section, and appears to have small rootlets radiating out from it. I can't see those small rootlets around the "Big root", although there does appear to be a small branch, just above the main branch, which is pointing to the root in cross-section (that could just be the way the rock fractured). It is hard to make much sense of just what is going on below the branch of the big root; there's not a clear branch off to the right like there is above.

  Assuming these are tree roots, and assuming they are in situ, then they are in (or below) the "shrub" part of the ecological succession of "shrubs first, followed by trees." If these roots are in situ, then where are all the other roots which would be associated with the root ball of a tree?

  Many trees have a central tap root.

  If one tree grew at this level then other trees should have been able to florish here also - where are all the other trees; why only one or two roots?

  OK, how about "shrubs first with the odd tree, followed (vertically) with trees as the succession proceeds".

  I tend to think that the "big root" on the right is a tree stem or trunk which was washed in along with the root to the left. This would explain why we only see isolated fragments of roots and/or tree stems, and explain the branching upward of the "big root."

  Incidentally, I notice in the long shrub root above these tree roots that there are 3 shrub roots which do appear to branch off to the right and upward from the long root. The lowermost root appears to connect to the long root; the other two may or may not connect. Therefore, I'll back off my statement that roots don't branch upward - they usually don't. I suppose you and Glenn win that one. :-) But that vertical branch in the "big root" does look peculiar!

  Let's not get carried away and decide the mode of origin of the world's coal based on a few photos.


  On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 06:18:34 -0700 "Kevin and Birgit Sharman" <> writes:
    Based on its distance below the bottom of the seam (~1 m) and its diameter, I would say it's a tree root. It appears to branch upward, but this may be because it comes out of the picture towards you. On the right hand side, it looks like another branch downward. I will send you another picture (showing a wider view). You may be right, though, it just may branch upward, Bill. Modern tree roots I have seen almost always branch downward, but they can branch in complex patterns.
Received on Fri Jan 2 12:04:52 2004

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