Re: Floating mats and coal - settling rates

From: Kevin Sharman <>
Date: Sun Feb 22 2004 - 01:53:17 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Payne" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2004 9:00 PM
Subject: Re: Floating mats and coal - settling rates

> On Fri, 20 Feb 2004 14:47:05 -0700 "Kevin Sharman" <>
> writes:
> Two comments - one to the settling velocity, and one to the larger issue
> of how we interpret data.
> A lower concentration of acid will still cause flocculation, although at
> a slower rate. "The inference of pH influences is based on modern
> analyses in the topogenous mires of the southeastern United States, where
> pH differences in water chemistry cause clay to flocculate adjacent to
> the channel margin, apparently limiting extensive inundation into the
> mire (Staub and Cohen, 1979)." (Greb, S.F., Elbe, C.F., Hower, J.C.,
> Andrews, W.M., 2002. Multiple-bench architecture and interpretations of
> original mire phases -- Examples from the Middle Pennsylvanian of the
> Central Appalachian Basin, USA. International Journal of Coal Geology 49,
> 151.) The pH of water is one factor that can alter or invalidate Stokes'
> Law, and there may be others.
Flocculation is a phenomenon confined to clays because of the electrical
charges these very small particles (less than 4 microns) carry. Lower pH
would only affect floccing of clays, not larger particles. Stokes Law is
not invalidated; the particle size of a floc aggregate is larger than the
individual particle, so it settles faster.

> 2) Your post, to which I am now responding, was written after I had
> described the accelerated settling rate of my acidified sample, and after
> you received and I think worked your way through the Power Point
> presentation I sent you - where the above quote appears. It seems that
> either you miss the significance of the effect of low pH on Stokes' Law,
> or I am overrating the importance of low pH. My point here is that there
> are always factors which we may not have included in our scenarios of
> past events, factors which have the potential to completely undo our
> conclusions.
True, but we do the best with what's in front of us. We cannot adjust for
unknown factors, we can only seek out all the factors which may influence a
system and adjust for them. So, based on what we know today about the
settling behavior of particles, it is reasonable to model them as I have
attempted. Throwing one's hands up and saying there's no use trying because
of unknown factors that may influence the results will not get us anywhere.
What's worse is rejecting an argument based on the possible influence of
unknown factors, which is what you seem to be doing. If you can't specify
what in particular invalidates my argument, then you can't reject it.

You haven't put forth a mechanism for reducing the pH of a column of
seawater with floating vegetation.

> As I have mentioned before, at some point the Flood would have ended, but
> recession of the waters/emergence of the land may have occurred gradually
> over a longer period of time. Deposition of peat may have begun after
> the end of the Flood, but while much of the land was still flooded.
So, you want to have it both ways: the Flood is over, but the land is still
flooded. To me, if the land is still flooded, it's the Flood. What does
the Bible say about the time period of receding flood waters? It seems like
you are compressing the floating mat deposition window to a few weeks in
this vague scenario.
> > Remember that you
> > also need time to deposit the other sediments, such as the ~9000 meters
> of
> > other sediments that make up the Phanerozoic succession in the area of
> Gates
> > Fm. coals.
No, the thrust of my post is that you don't have enough time in a year long
Flood to account for all the coal AND all the other sediments. This is
completely relevant to coal because time that you need to deposit sediments
takes away from your potential time to deposit peat.
> I'm working on the foundation (coal) now; I would like to leave the
> superstructure till later, or to others. If I can reasonably show that
> coal is from transported peat, then the under- and overlying strata will
> have to be reinterpreted in light of the allochthonous nature of coal.
> > Also, the order of settling of plants/peat would be the large dense
> > particles first (large inertinite), as well as large waterlogged wood.
> In
> > the middle would be small particles with a high density difference
> (small
> > coalified macerals), then last would be small particles with a low
> density
> > difference (small pieces of waterlogged wood, spores) and pieces with a
> > large surface area to mass ratio, such as leaves and sheets of lycopod
> bark.
> > This is not the order we see, either in a given seam or as an upward
> trend
> > in the world's coal.
> There are too many unknown or unconsidered factors for you to draw this
> order of settling.

Another vague statement from you, Bill. If the factors are unknown, we can'
t model them. If there are factors which I haven't considered, tell me what
they are and how they would affect what I proposed. Again, you reject my
argument without giving grounds.
> > How do you explain discrete beds of sporinite (spore rich layers) in a
> > floating mat scenario? These very small particles with a low density
> > difference would take a very long time to settle. In the mainstream
> view,
> > these settle out slowly in a lake environment with an absence of
> clastic
> > input.
> This line of reasoning is secondary to more direct data indicating the
> allochthonous nature of coal, IMO.

Bill, the above statement must mean you are agreeing with me that this line
of reasoning refutes allochthonous coal. If you disagree that my argument
refutes allochthonous coal, you would have answered my question about
sporinite above. You have dodged the question.

Received on Sun Feb 22 01:54:28 2004

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