Re: Canadian Coal - unanswered questions Part 1

From: Kevin Sharman <>
Date: Sat Apr 17 2004 - 03:04:49 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Payne" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2004 11:23 PM
Subject: Re: Canadian Coal - unanswered questions

Hi Bill,

Your response to my "Unanswered Questions" post of March 17th made it to me
but never made it onto the list (too long I suspect) so I am going to
respond in two parts.

> Sorry for the delay in responding, Kevin. You've got me very stretched
> out - which is good, and I appreciate your challenges.
> On Wed, 17 Mar 2004 22:24:43 -0700 "Kevin Sharman" <>
> writes:
> > 1. No coal in deep marine clastic sediments, limestones, etc.
> >
> > This one was brought up early on by Glenn and myself, and has not been
> > answered by you.
> There is coal associated with limestones in Kentucky (Kentucky No. 12
> coal) and Illinois (Jamestown coal), and I have a paper on coal
> interbedded with limestone in China. As for deep marine sediments, there
> is disseminated carbon in deep ocean sediments, which is consistent with
> what I have told Glenn - that organic mats in the deep ocean would not
> form coal, they would break up with the wave action and settle out as
> finely disseminated particles. More on limestone below.

There is a difference between coal being associated spatially with a given
rock type and being associated genetically with one. There is no reason why
a coal swamp couldn't form on volcanics, for example, but that doesn't mean
that it's genetically associated with the volcanics.

There is more wave action in shallow water - this should pound your floating
mat plants into sawdust. This, of course, is not what we see.
> > 2. low sulphur coals - need fresh water - mechanism?
> >
> > You say you're not worried about this issue, because no one really
> >knows
> > what might have happened during the Flood. This appeal to unknown
> >processes
> > sounds like an "anything goes, and I don't need data to back it up"
> > approach.
> The data is what it is. What I have said is that if enough rain fell in
> interior basins it would push the salt water out. You wanted to know how
> much rain it would take. You are correct in saying that I don't have
> data to back this up. However, what I am saying is consistent with
> Scripture (snip)
> I understand your position and your inability to grasp the possibility of
massive rain
> events. (snip)
In science, if you want to propose a new explanation, you must back it up
with data. You have not done so, therefore your "explanation" is invalid.
Simple as that. If you backed it up, I might be able to grasp it.

In your supporting document (the Bible) there are no interior basins during
the Flood; the entire earth is covered in water. So it's not consistent
with Scripture.
> > 3. pre-flood peat accumulation rate
> >
> > How do you account for the vast thicknesses of peat/veg material which
> >would
> > be needed to make all the seams from floating mats, if those layers
> >were
> > ripped up intact (bound together with roots)?
> That's a good question. (snip) which leads me to believe that the
floating mats
> may have originated (going from in situ to floating mats) after the
> Ordovician. (snip)

> If I understand correctly what Glenn said, the pre-Devonian oils were
> from animal remains rather than plant. This would at least suggest
> strongly that there were no floating mats prior to the Devonian. This
> may be indirect evidence that the Flood started after the Devonian.
> Prior to this time, land plants grew and remained on the land. Marine
> animals (and lower plants, as I understand from Glenn) died and
> eventually became oil. During the Flood land plants were incorporated
> into sediments for the first time, and vitrinite was introduced into the
> resulting, post-Devonian oil.
With all due respect, this is rubbish. There are plenty of non-marine
sediments of Precambrian, Cambrian, and Ordovician age, and they don't
contain coal or plant fossils.
> > 4. piling up of vegetation mats - shoreline?
> >
> > You said that loose vegetation could pile up, and gave a modern example
> > where vegetation bunched up against a shoreline. No reply from you
> when I
> > asked if that meant that there were shorelines during the Flood to
> account
> > for all coal deposited with so-called Flood rocks.
> Of course we have no idea what the mats looked like, but I would venture
> to say that the organic mats were root-bound to begin with (ripped up
> intact), and therefore didn't need to be "piled up."
Then they need to be hundreds or thousands of meters thick to account for
the thickness and number of seams in the geological record. The 15 to 30
meter thick seam in the Jurassic Mist Mountain Fm. (needs a 150 m to 300
thick mat at 10:1 compression), our 8 meter thick J seam, and the 550 meters
of coal in the Tertiary Hat Creek deposit are just a few examples of seams
requiring immensely thick floating mats in your scenario. You haven't shown
how these could accumulate in the pre-Flood world in a time period of a few
thousand years, all while failing to leave any trace of themselves in
pre-Devonian strata.
> > 5. detailed mechanism for parting and interseam sediment deposition
> >
> > You have avoided this one repeatedly. First it was turbidites, then
> > sub-aqueous deposits that may be turbidites, now it's settling from
> > suspension. No mechanism, references, or modern analogues.
> If, by your own admission, I have offered three explanations, then it is
> not true that I "have avoided this one repeatedly."
My comment stands. You have not provided a DETAILED mechanism. A one word
or one sentence explanation is not a detailed mechanism.

> I will respond to
> this one in detail, but in a separate post since this one is long and
> primarily concerns Canadian coal. It may take me a while to develop that
> post, but I will get it done.
> > 6. channels in interseam sediments
> >
> > This one needs a special variation on your turbidite theme, which you
> have
> > not provided.
> Subaqueous channels in either interseam sediments or coal can be cut by
> turbidity currents (see below - Stokes' law), as I think I have stated.
> I don't understand why you say I need a "special variation" here.
This is an example of what I refer to above as a one sentence explanation.
If you think this is convincing, you're wrong.

There are many examples of channels which interfinger at their margins with
coal, and grade laterally into finer grained sediments, then coal. This
implies that the channel and the coal were forming simultaneously. How can
you have a turbidity flow with enough energy to carry large clasts, and
laterally adjacent to it, extremely light pieces of vegetation settling out
to make coal?

There are many channels composed of well sorted conglomerates, with large
(20 cm in the case of the Gates) clasts. As I have pointed out, these
contain vertical roots in the Gates - not possible in deep water sediments
like turbidites.
Try to cut a meandering channel with a turbidity current - won't work.

Stay tuned for part 2.

Received on Sat Apr 17 03:05:54 2004

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