Re: Fw: Re: Canadian Coal - depositional setting

From: Bill Payne <>
Date: Wed Feb 04 2004 - 23:58:02 EST

On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 19:28:17 -0600 writes:

Hello Kevin,

Sorry, I've been out of pocket for a while; I'll try to catch back up.

> > But you say you never see standing trees in partings? Are you saying
> > flooded stage _always_ lasts until the trees fall over?

> Yes, in these coals, otherwise we would see standing trees.

You seem to be creating some special requirements to maintain your model.
 Surely if this was a swamp then some floods would be short-lived and
vertical trees would be preserved in the partings.

> No, the trees will not resume growing, because they died when the swamp
> flooded. Pioneering vegetation must take over again.

Do you say this because grass and shrubs just take hold and grow more
quickly than trees? I can see no reason why trees can't begin to grow on
an unvegetated, moist surface. Other than the requirement that trees
have to come later when the mat is thicker to explain the lack of tree
roots in the substrate, what reasons can you offer for "pioneering"
vegetation before trees when vegetating a parting?

> > Parting destruction is a sure thing when you get roots.

> Nope. Some tonstein layers in the South African Grootegeluk Formation
coal measures contain 40% organic matter. It didn’t > fall from the
sky with the ash. Also see below.

Is the 40% organic matter detrital or observed in roots? If it's in the
roots, how can you be sure the roots are not also detrital?

> There is one of my pictures on Glenn’s website showing a shale parting
with roots in it. The roots didn’t even hardly disturb > the
sedimentary layering, much less “bioturbate and destroy the continuity”.

Occasional roots don't bother me; however, your model requires a
continuous covering of shrubs over the entire parting area in order to
produce a layer of vegetation which will support and contain the roots of
all subsequent vegetation. This means every parting should be intensely
rooted with a single stand of shrubs. Is that what you observe?

On Jan 5, 2004, you said: "I have shown you a parting with roots in the
top of it, haven't I? I admit that this is probably the exception, and
most partings don't have visible roots." Are you saying that partings
that don't have visible roots have invisible roots?
On Jan 14, 2004, you said roots bioturbated the strata: "He [Carmichael]
also notes that 'the top 30 cm to 1 meter of facies B (the upper portion
of the shoreface sand) is often strongly bioturbated. In most cases the
bioturbation is caused by roots.'"
On Jan 27, 2004, you said "As I mentioned before, a clastic influx into
the swamp while it's still growing won't make a parting. Bioturbation by
roots will incorporate the mineral matter into the coal."
Above you said: "The roots don't even hardly disturb the sedimentary
layering, much less 'bioturbate and destroy the continuity.'"
Maybe you can have it both ways (roots that don't bioturbate and roots
that do bioturbate, roots that are visible and roots that are invisible),
depending upon changing conditions, but if so, could you please explain
the different in situ conditions that would result in bioturbation in
some cases and not in others? And visible roots in some cases and
invisible roots in others?

Did Charmichael, Kalkreuth or others ever discuss this lack of roots and
bioturbation in partings? If so, what did they say?

> Your choice of switching to a confrontational mode shows me that you
are realizing that your argument is indefensible – you are > willing to
reject well-reasoned interpretations that fit the evidence in favor of
your vague arm-waving,

I wholeheartedly agree that any confrontational mode is inappropriate,
and I regret having slipped into it. I'll try to do better in the

> in an effort to keep your faith intact.

That's an interesting comment. If I may read between the lines, you seem
to be saying that anyone who seriously considers and accepts the
empirical data relating to earth history will realize that the Bible is
in error regarding Genesis 1 - 11, and if Genesis is in error then the
stories about Jesus and much of the rest of the Bible are also in error
(or mythological, as I once believed). Your comments?

I have a hierarchy of belief, based upon how closely related the beliefs
are related to my own personal experience. Having had what I consider
one-on-one experiences with the Creator of the universe, this belief (or
faith), undergirded by historical confirmation of the life of Jesus, is
not negotiable. The historical confirmation is critical, since our minds
can play psychological tricks on us, and it is the historical
confirmation that becomes the impetus for this and so many other
discussions - where do we draw the line between Biblical recorded history
and allegory?

I tend to take a literal view of Genesis. The purpose of this endeavor I
am embarked upon is to see how closely I can come to explaining geology
within the literal, YEC Biblical model. Supernova SN1987A (I think Glenn
discusses this on his website) gives me pause as far as a recent creation
of the universe, and Steven Smith posted a year or two ago a good summary
of the sequence of geologic events in Colorado (?) which I can't explain
within the YEC framework. Steven, if you have the location of that post
handy you might want to let us know again where it is. In answer to a
question you've posed a couple of times, yes, I would like to develop
this model to incorporate one Flood that would be directly or indirectly
responsible for all of the coal seams worldwide.

Since you're read the archives you know a lot more about me than I know
about you. Feel free to ignore this if you like, Kevin, but I would like
to ask, what does your faith, if any, look like?
> Instead of advancing coherent explanations of the depositional
environment, you have ascribed interseam sediments and partings > to:
turbidites, well, maybe subaqeous deposits that may or may not be
turbidites, well, I guess I can’t explain tonsteins under a >
floating mat….. This is vague arm-waving.

I don't think I understand the importance of the distinction between
turbidites and subaqueous deposits. Also, I don't believe I said I
couldn't explain tonsteins under a floating mat. I said: "I suppose the
volcanic ash could fall on adjacent open water and then drift with
currents under the floating mat." I would add that ash falling on a
floating mat might wash down through the mat with rainfall, and ash
falling on adjacent land surfaces would wash into the water with
rainfall. Currents in the open water would disperse the suspended ash
over wide areas beneath a floating mat.
> Your floating mat speculation is not the best fit for the observed
data, and we’re not even finished looking at all the data yet.

We haven't begun to look at the Pennsylvanian data yet, which is where I
believe the strength of my arugment lies. Right now we're engaged on
your turf, and you have an excellent comprehension of your arguments.

> > Do you ever see coal seams of constant thickness draped over lenses
of sand?

> No.

Does the banding in the draped coal follow the slope of the lenses or is
it parallel to the general bedding plane (which originally would have
been horizontal, or nearly so) and therefore at a low angle to the slope
of the sides of the sand lenses? I think you contend that banding
results primarily from compaction, which should have been vertical due to
sediment loading. Do you have any photos of draped coal you could

Thanks, Kevin -


The best thing to hit the Internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the Web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit to sign up today!
Received on Thu Feb 5 00:33:59 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Feb 05 2004 - 00:34:00 EST