Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The World's Largest Fossil Wilderness (Coal mine)
Smithsonian ^ | July 2009 | Guy Gugliotta

Posted on 06/23/2009 5:28:07 AM PDT by decimon

Finding a fossil in a coal mine is no big deal. Coal deposits, after all, are petrified peat swamps, and peat is made from decaying plants, which leave their imprints in mud and clay as it hardens into shale stone.

But it was a different thing entirely when John Nelson and Scott Elrick, geologists with the Illinois State Geological Survey, examined the Riola and Vermilion Grove coal mines in eastern Illinois. Etched into ceilings of the mine shafts is the largest intact fossil forest ever seen—at least four square miles of tropical wilderness preserved 307 million years ago. That's when an earthquake suddenly lowered the swamp 15 to 30 feet and mud and sand rushed in, covering everything with sediment and killing trees and other plants. "It must have happened in a matter of weeks," says Elrick. "What we see here is the death of a peat swamp, a moment in geologic time frozen by an accident of nature."

(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...


TOPICS: History; Science
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; coalmine; creation; evolution; fossilizedforest; godsgravesglyphs; junkscience; oldearthspeculation; showmethefossils; spontaneouslifers

1 posted on 06/23/2009 5:28:07 AM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

PING


2 posted on 06/23/2009 5:39:33 AM PDT by stockpirate ("54% of voters approve of the Obama's performance, (45%) disapprove." Rassm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

The sandstone quarry near me sells fossil filled slabs of stone as decorative paving stone.


3 posted on 06/23/2009 5:44:29 AM PDT by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
The sandstone quarry near me sells fossil filled slabs of stone as decorative paving stone.

Fossil killers!

4 posted on 06/23/2009 5:52:24 AM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
Is this close to the New Harmony Fault ?
5 posted on 06/23/2009 5:53:28 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

South central Michiganistan.


6 posted on 06/23/2009 5:55:13 AM PDT by cripplecreek (The poor bastards have us surrounded.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: decimon

So now where did all that carbon buried for 300+ million years come from? It came from the CO2 that the forest inhaled and then converted into the stuff of life and now energy.

CO2 is the source of life and energy, not a poison.


7 posted on 06/23/2009 5:56:40 AM PDT by JeanLM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JeanLM
So now where did all that carbon buried for 300+ million years come from? It came from the CO2 that the forest inhaled and then converted into the stuff of life and now energy.

There are relatively few fossils in coal. It is mostly carbon. The isotope ratios of various elements do not support the idea of coal as having originated from buried, compressed plant material.
8 posted on 06/23/2009 5:58:54 AM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: aruanan

There’s no question that coal is the result of compressed plant material. I was active in the Illinois Basin and the evidence of leaves was obvious.


9 posted on 06/23/2009 6:01:57 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: decimon

It is clear that all coal depsits are of great scientific and archeological significance. They must be preserved for future generations.


10 posted on 06/23/2009 6:07:04 AM PDT by frithguild (Can I drill your head now?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frithguild

It’s too late. I already drilled and blasted.


11 posted on 06/23/2009 6:11:55 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: frithguild
It is clear that all coal depsits are of great scientific and archeological significance. They must be preserved for future generations.

Sarcasm noted.

The funny thing is, they have to extract the coal to uncover the fossils.

12 posted on 06/23/2009 6:17:53 AM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks
It’s too late. I already drilled and blasted.


13 posted on 06/23/2009 6:19:51 AM PDT by frithguild (Can I drill your head now?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: frithguild
Looks like nitro headache # 5.
14 posted on 06/23/2009 6:22:03 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks
There’s no question that coal is the result of compressed plant material. I was active in the Illinois Basin and the evidence of leaves was obvious.

I didn't say there were no fossils, just that there are too few and the isotope ratios are wrong.
15 posted on 06/23/2009 12:55:38 PM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: aruanan
The stuff is something like 260 million years old so we'll have to await a higher authority to say for sure.
We operated a hydrocyclone wash plant to lower the sulfur and ash in the raw coal. The "coarse reject" material was very neat stuff, full of pyrites, partings and something we referred to as 'cannel coal,' which was dull colored and brittle. It was heavier than the regular coal, which made it sink in the cyclone bath. At one of our pits where the coal was about 90 feet deep, there was a rider seam, high in the hill, well above the shale, laying in the clay layer. Part of this had burned at some point, probably ignited at its crop edge by a prairie fire.
16 posted on 06/23/2009 1:06:15 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...
Thanks stockpirate!
 
Catastrophism
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·

17 posted on 06/23/2009 3:22:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (http://www.troopathon.org/index.php -- June 25th -- the Troopathon)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: stockpirate; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

 
Gods
Graves
Glyphs
Thanks stockpirate.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · ArchaeoBlog · Archaeology · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·


18 posted on 06/23/2009 3:23:14 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (http://www.troopathon.org/index.php -- June 25th -- the Troopathon)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: cripplecreek
"The sandstone quarry near me sells fossil filled slabs of stone as decorative paving stone."

My oldest son used to work in a flagstone quarry in Arizona, and he brought me a nice slab with the fossilized tracks of a large tortoise on it. My treasure!

19 posted on 06/23/2009 3:43:27 PM PDT by redhead (Obama: Lame Duck in 2010. Check out the Half-baked Sourdough! (shameless blog plug!))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: aruanan

If you look at coal, the plants are there in your hands, right before you eyes. To state otherwise is preposterous balderdash.


20 posted on 06/23/2009 3:49:03 PM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . The boy's war in Detriot has already cost more then the war in Iraq.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Yep, no coal mine and these fossils wouldn't be discovered!

I hate to think what we might have to pay for power if the leftwingnuts get some traction in their campaign against coal.

21 posted on 06/23/2009 3:59:47 PM PDT by colorado tanker ("Lastly, I'd like to apologize for America's disproportionate response to Pearl Harbor . . . ")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Ecosensitive touchstones, silent testimonials now disclosed for their true signifigance to the planet’s furure health will dot the landscape in the post-carbon world and pay homage and make recompense for the rape of Mother Nature at last as we are led into the new age of oneness, unity and harmony — and we owe it all to the lowly life-choking coal mines of our misguided ancestors; Hail, Obama! Hail!


22 posted on 06/23/2009 4:02:44 PM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, then writes again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

For Sale; useless, fat fingers or trade for halfway decent typist...


23 posted on 06/23/2009 4:07:29 PM PDT by Old Professer (The critic writes with rapier pen, dips it twice, then writes again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Old Professer
For Sale; useless, fat fingers or trade for halfway decent typist...

No problem. No one reads anything anyway. ;-)

24 posted on 06/23/2009 4:20:22 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: aruanan
Is there a "facepalm" with your picture on it?


25 posted on 06/23/2009 4:29:55 PM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Seams of coal are sometimes fifty or more feet thick.
No forest could make such a layer of coal; it is estimated
that it would take a twelve-foot layer of peat deposit to
make a layer of coal one foot thick; and twelve feet of
peat deposit would require plant remains a hundred and
twenty feet high. How tall and thick must a forest be,
then, in order to create a seam of coal not one foot thick
but fifty? The plant remains must be six thousand feet
thick. In some places there must have been fifty to a
hundred successive huge forests, one replacing the other,
since so many seams of coal are formed. But it is further
questionable whether the forests grew one on top of the
other, because a coal bed, undivided on one side, some-
times splits on the other side into numerous beds, with
layers of limestone or other formations between.

http://www.archive.org/stream/earthupheaval010880mbp/earthupheaval010880mbp_djvu.txt


26 posted on 06/23/2009 4:42:09 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (FAIR DINKUM!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: bert

When I was a kid and we had a coal furnace in the basement, I’d dig through the coal bin and find large lumps with beautiful fern and sea lily imprints and set them aside to save.

Dad, being perpetually oblivious would, without fail, toss them into the furnace while I was asleep or in school.


27 posted on 06/23/2009 4:56:52 PM PDT by Salamander (Cursed with Second Sight.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Earthquake?

Yes, a really huge one, that re-shaped the world: The Genesis judgement.


28 posted on 06/23/2009 5:00:17 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (The beginning of the O'Bummer administration looks a lot like the end of the Nixon administration)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salamander

Shucks. we had a ‘Stoker’ -— but it still needed filling...Ah! The good ol days.....


29 posted on 06/23/2009 5:04:04 PM PDT by litehaus (A memory tooooo long)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: decimon; Old Professer
"No problem. No one reads anything anyway."

What with public schools and such, some have no choice in the matter :o)

30 posted on 06/23/2009 5:07:17 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (The beginning of the O'Bummer administration looks a lot like the end of the Nixon administration)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Fred Nerks

:’) Thanks FN.


31 posted on 06/23/2009 6:06:33 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (http://www.troopathon.org/index.php -- June 25th -- the Troopathon)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Fred Nerks
The low sulfur/low BTU sub-bituminous coal beds around Gillette, WY can be 100 feet thick with 100 feet of cover. An examination of the coal layers shows the imprints of leaves and ferns. The text books say the beds were created in a fresh water swamp with succeeding generations of woody plants being deposited, then covered by a variety of geologic forces. The WY coal is soft and flaky and a piece of it left outside will slump and degrade in a month. Not far away, the Hanna Basin in Montana has thinner seams that are harder, higher in BTU, yet also low in sulfur. The theory is the Montana coal was subjected to more compression but both were created in fresh water seas.
The Illinois Basin has a half dozen different varieties and sulfur/BTU levels, some laying over each other with 150 feet separating the two seams. The sulfur content is said to be associated with a brackish sea environment.
In the east, coal can be found deep, close to the surface and close to mountain tops, with as many as five seams stacked on top of one another. Each layer represents a period of time when an inland sea and warm temperatures provided the right environment for the build up of peat. Many seams dip to the southwest or east and some seams roll. obviously affected by tectonics.
In Pennsylvania, anthracite can be found in U shaped beds which are quarried, then mined in drifts from an open cut.
I gave 260 million years as an average age but some coals are younger and some could be very old.
32 posted on 06/23/2009 7:06:56 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: bert; xcamel
If you look at coal, the plants are there in your hands, right before you eyes. To state otherwise is preposterous balderdash.

In terms of the sheer mass of coal, there are very few identifiable fossils. It is mostly carbon. Besides, there are different types of coal which may have different origins, such as lignite versus anthracite.
“Hydrocarbon-rich areas tend to be hydrocarbon-rich at many different levels [in the earth], corresponding to quite different geological epochs, and extending down to the crystalline basement that underlies the sediment. An invasion of an area by hydrocarbon fluids from below could better account for this than the chance of successive deposition.” (6) Also, such extrusion of hydrocarbons periodically over time from below could explain the findings of organic debris, such as ferns, saber tooth tigers, and even human fossil skulls, in seams of coal (think La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, California). Gold writes: “The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff [but] it was once a liquid, because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are undestroyed, absolutely preserved, with every cell in that fossil filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside. A hard, brittle coal is not going to get into each cell of a delicate leaf without destroying it. So obviously that stuff was a thin liquid at one time which gradually hardened…[p]etroleum…gradually becomes stiffer and harder [and] that is the only logical explanation for the origin of coal. The fact that coal contains fossils does not prove that it is a fossil fuel; it proves exactly the opposite. Those fossils you find in coal prove that coal is not made from those fossils. How could you take a forest and mulch it all up so that it is a completely featureless big black substance and then find one leaf in it that is perfectly preserved? That is absolute nonsense.” (6)
--(6) Thomas Gold: “The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth, USGS Professional Paper 1570, The Future of Energy Gasses, 1993, available at: http://people.cornell.edu/pages/tg21/usgs.html.
33 posted on 06/23/2009 8:45:13 PM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: aruanan

34 posted on 06/24/2009 3:37:06 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: decimon

There are no *accidents* in nature.


35 posted on 06/24/2009 4:06:36 AM PDT by wolfcreek (KMTEXASA!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xcamel

Another example, along with bert’s example earlier, of begging the question.


36 posted on 06/24/2009 4:25:42 AM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: aruanan

Gold’s theory of “seeps’ has been widely challenged. There are different varieties of crude oil as well as coal. Coal is the rare fuel that can be directly traced to peat and then to peat bogs or swamps.


37 posted on 06/24/2009 5:27:49 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: wolfcreek
There are no *accidents* in nature.

Mutation happens.

38 posted on 06/24/2009 7:28:03 AM PDT by OldNavyVet ("About a thousand genes are shared by every organism, however simple or complicated ." -- Jones)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks
A. Gold’s theory of “seeps’ has been widely challenged. B. There are different varieties of crude oil as well as coal. C. Coal is the rare fuel that can be directly traced to peat and then to peat bogs or swamps.

A. Not surprising. It's not a theory of seeps that has been challenged since those seeps are just a matter of fact, but his version of the earliest theory of the origin of petroleum as being abiogenic rather than biogenic, coming from primordial methane formed by heat and pressure gradients in the mantle and crust into petroleum. His track record, though, is extremely good.
B. There are many different varieties of crude, true, but there are also crudes that have the same chemical signatures though coming from strata of wildly differing origins.
C. 'Coal' is like 'cancer.' There are different substances of different origins that are all referred to as coal. The idea that anthracite coal comes through a progression of peat to lignite to bituminous to anthracite is an intellectual construct.
39 posted on 06/24/2009 8:23:11 AM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: aruanan
Anthracite and bituminous coal, other than moisture and % volatiles, are not that different. It could be closely compared to met coal...
Crudes exhibit differing characteristics, just a coal does, I believe related to their age.
40 posted on 06/24/2009 9:14:11 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: OldNavyVet

For a reason.


41 posted on 06/24/2009 11:39:26 AM PDT by wolfcreek (KMTEXASA!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: wolfcreek

Post 35 “There are no ‘accidents’ in nature.”
Post 38 “Mutation happens”
Post 41 “For a reason.”

I realize that creationist religions hold that “accidents” don’t happen in nature.

Nonetheless, the book “Darwin’s Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated” by Steve Jones, has this to say about evolutionary “accidents.” (pages 170-171)

“DNA’s inability to copy itself without mistakes - mutation - means that evolution is inevitable. Natural selection does no more than capialize on that fact. Species, too, are by products of the Mendelian machine. They emerge from the apparatus of inheritance, from the ways that genes join forces to do their job. If genes for size, shape or behavior work together only in the right combinations, then, as different mixtures build up in different places, the origin of species becomes inevitable. Once established they may evolve further, but, of their nature, species happen by accident.”


42 posted on 06/24/2009 6:44:02 PM PDT by OldNavyVet ("About a thousand genes are shared by every organism, however simple or complicated ." -- Jones)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: OldNavyVet
I see your point and I'm not necessarily a *creationist*.

I see the universe as a creation of God that has a mind/will of it's own.

Maybe accident/mutation are too strong a word(s). To adjust or adapt seems more accurate.

43 posted on 06/25/2009 3:49:29 AM PDT by wolfcreek (KMTEXASA!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: wolfcreek

Describing God using the terms “mind,” “will” and “reason” takes me back to the catechism class where I was taught that God created man in His image.

I now prefer to think that God, if there is a God, is beyond our knowledge - transcendent.

The closing words in Jones’ book are ...

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breather into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed laws of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”


44 posted on 06/25/2009 7:44:29 AM PDT by OldNavyVet ("... natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being ...." - Jones)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: OldNavyVet

Guess I’m a *’tweener* (neither a creationist or Darwinist). As the American Indians say, Great Spirit has power over all things and Mother Earth has power over all spirits.


45 posted on 06/25/2009 1:34:49 PM PDT by wolfcreek (KMTEXASA!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]


the "fossilizedforest" keyword:
46 posted on 02/25/2012 6:45:31 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson