According to orthodoxy, most of the coal existing in the world today formed approximately 300 million years ago, from the remains of trees and other vegetation. These remains were trapped on the bottom of swamps, accumulating layer after layer and creating a dense material called peat. As this peat was buried under more and more ground, the high temperatures and pressure transformed it into coal. The three essential elements necessary to the production of coal are, heat, pressure, and time.
“Since we have peat beds today, and they contain carbonaceous matter derived from vegetation, and such matter can be made to produce many of the products that can be made by distillation of coal, it sounds very reasonable that coal could be the solidified remains of ancient peat bogs, but not necessarily just from peat moss, but also from the remains of trees, ferns, and other vegetation as suggested. The evidence seems all but conclusive so much so that the scientists today never even question the accuracy of these findings.”
Since the history of mankind points out that true progress has been made, not by those inclined to think along the lines of the orthodoxy, that is holding to the opinion of the majority, but rather from those views found to be at odds or contrary to the thinking of the many, and that were accepted at the first by only the few (for example the once predominate view that the earth was flat, that it was at the center of the universe the sun, moon and stars revolving around it), perhaps it would be well now for someone to take an iconoclastic view and question the accuracy of this deduction as well. Certainly no harm can result from asking a few questions! A short time ago, a graduate geologist was conducting some sight-seers through the Chicago Museum of Natural History (Field’s Museum). The group was paused before a diorama depicting the forests of the carboniferous age, and the geologist described how such forests accumulated vegetable debris which over immense periods of time became coal. The diorama presented a beautiful scene, with the great trees almost dwarfing the dinosaurs roaming in the forest’s shade. Then one of the group asked a question.
“Would not these trees, as tall as they were supposed to be, have very deep, or widespread roots in order for the tree to stand upright?”
“Why certainly, all trees must be held up by their roots.”
“And the soil would have to be fairly deep for the support of such trees?”
“Of course, why do you ask?”
“Oh, I just want to know who took the soil out from under the coal beds, after that forest turned to coal.”
The geologist looked startled for a moment. “I see what you mean. I had never thought of it.”
You see that is a very hard question for a geologist to answer, for rarely, if ever, do we find soil under coal, but we do find clay, slate, shale, limestone, sandstone, even *glacial till, all water-laid.
*Glacial till is formed when a glacier carries materials such as boulders, gravel, sand and clay from one area and deposits them in another area. Material carried in the glacier’s base and deposited under it is called basal till, while material carried on or near the glacier’s surface and deposited when the glacier melts is called ablation till.
If the vegetation theory is true, how can we account for “peat bogs” forming on the top of porous gravel and boulder beds, and as such developing the necessary “mass of decaying vegetable matter,” sufficient to make up the coal beds, then removing the soil necessary for the growth of vegetation, and then covering the coal bed with more glacial till? And how do we account for this “luxuriant growth” in the midst of a glaciated area, as indicted by the glacial till both under and over the deposit of coal? These are surely legitimate questions and should have a reasonable answer in harmony with natural law! (Note below the size of the Coal Seams found in Antarctica).
Now if coal is from vegetation as so emphatically stated by practically all geologists, where would we expect to find it most abundantly? The logical answer to that question seems to be that coal would be most abundant where vegetation grew most abundantly, and that would be between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, the equatorial region, since no glaciation was ever known there except on one occasion. At the present time there is no real winter there except on mountain tops, and along the Congo, the Amazon, and the Orinoco, we have some of the heaviest growths ever known to man, and for thousands of years (if not millions according to orthodoxy) we have a history of uninterrupted growth, and fens and bogs are fed all the yearlong with rich decaying vegetation. Let us see how fast coal is being made here under such favorable conditions. But we look in vain! In all these many thousands of years not one single crystal of coal has been produced! Not even a trace! Why is this? As every Future Farmer of American can tell you, these conditions produce humus not coal, compost, black, cozy, rich fertilizer for the soil. Will it burn? Very probably if the moisture is dried out of it. If used like peat turf, it should have enough fuel in it to produce some heat and enough admixtures to produce lots of ash.
No, strange as it seems, there is very little coal to be found in the tropics, but there are tremendous deposits in Alaska, Siberia, Australia and the Antarctic, and much of the coal mined today was laid down in the ocean or inland lakes, or in connection with glacier movement. There is some coal in India, and it was visited with a glacial period moving up from the equator. The larger beds and the better quality are in the Polar Regions, and rapidly lose in quantity as we move toward the equator until seemingly they play out entirely when we reach the tropics. This seems exactly the opposite of what we should expect if the vegetation theory were correct.
Of course the vegetation theorists employ another one of their commonly held theories known as continental drift to attempt to explain this. The theory goes that at one time Antarctica resided in the midst of the southern super-continent of Gondwana. This continent consisted of Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, Australia-New Guinea and New Zealand, as well as Arabia and the Indian subcontinent, which are in the Northern Hemisphere. Gondwana is thought to have formed roughly 510 million years ago.
“During the late Paleozoic, Gondwana extended from a point at or near the South Pole to near the equator. Across much of the super-continent, the climate was mild, which contributed to the formation of the late Paleozoic Gondwana sedimentary sequence that is the source of much of the mined coal.
Now if as suggested at one time the present day continents were actually situated where they are depicted in the above diagram, one would suppose that there would be found large coal deposits both in North America and in the northern half of South America as well as North and Central Africa. Antarctica and Australia unfortunately would not fare as well, and yet accept for North America as is depicted in diagram above everything appears to be in reversed. Australia located outside the tropics is the fourth leading coal producer in the world while Africa, not North or Central, but rather South Africa ranks as the seventh leading coal producer, what happened in North and Central Africa, where’s the coal?
During the Mesozoic, the world was on average considerably warmer than today. Gondwana was then host to a huge variety of flora and fauna for many millions of years. But there is strong evidence of glaciation during Carboniferous to Permian time, especially in South Africa.”
“Antarctica remained connected to South America and Australia until about 35 million years ago and, up to that time, retained a diverse flora. At the end of the Eocene, both Australia and South America pulled away northwards allowing the South Circumpolar Current to develop – an ocean current that maintains a continuously flowing pool of cold water around Antarctica. Once this cold-water current was established, it trapped Antarctica in a frigid grip. Ice caps began to develop on the highlands then rapidly linked up to form an extensive ice sheet. The ice has advanced and retreated many times with changes in the global climate and hardy plants such as the southern beech trees (Nothofagus) managed to linger on in isolated Antarctic refugia until as recently as five million years ago. However, intensified global cooling since that time has eliminated all woody plants and the ice sheet is now four kilometers thick at its center.” (See “Fossil forests in the freezer”)
The Continental drift theory like the vegetation theory has its own problems, for more on this please see, “Plate Tectonics: A Paradigm under Threat” by David Pratt
Those who so glibly assert that coal is of vegetable origin have apparently ignored the fact that the coal, even if it reached the coal beds as a deposit of decaying vegetation, had to have a previous origin, and that origin must provide that carbon as fuel carbon, so the question becomes “did nature go to all the trouble of routing the carbon through vegetation or did it deposit it as a crystallized carbon without processing it through vegetation?”
We will not take longer to indicate that there are very strong reasons for believing that the current conception of the process of coal formation is in reality, a misconception, and certainly subject to grave questioning. Whatever the process was, the conditions we find must be entirely harmonious with the events. Our trouble has been that the deductions made from the facts, were not in harmony with all the facts, and although apparently explaining some, for some facts may point strongly to the orthodox conception, there are other facts that as strongly contradict it.
Now we turn to the ring and canopy theory which has been able to assign clear and logical causes to some of earth’s “mysteries” to see if it can shed any light on this perplexing problem. Again, let us start with the carbon atom and see what pure philosophy would require. We found that very probably carbon was formed from nitrogen during the process of fission and fusion which must have attended the early period of the formation of earth’s materials. We find that carbon is one of the common elements in earth’s crust (the 15th most abundant element), and is included in some form in the deposits of every age, although in bulk it comprises a very small percent of the deposited material, being grouped in with all others that make up 1%. However, in keeping with the law of arrangement of materials according to weight, we would expect the heavier, denser carbons to be deposited first and the lightest carbon last. We would expect the greater deposits in every age to be toward the Polar Regions, and that such deposits would indicate that they were water-laid.
As the collapse of the canopies brought down earth materials on both sea and land, that which was dropped on water would be separated according to specific gravity, and the heavier carbon crystals would sink before the lighter ones, and the lighter ones would move with the currents and the tides further than the heavier ones, but finally come to rest, water-laid. The heavier carbon crystals sinking faster than particles of clay or other material would have less extraneous matter deposited with them than the lighter carbons. Being laid in water, they might well take down with them small organisms or floating vegetation. Thus, on the Eastern Seaboard we should find the denser coal with less ash content (anthracite) farther east, and the lighter coal, with more ash content (bituminous) further inland, and these beds should diminish in both thickness and quality from their eastern to their western limits. This area was the continental shelf, and under the waters of the Atlantic Ocean during the carboniferous period, and carbon falling into the sea would have been carried by tidal action toward the shores. Note the coal measures still under the sea around the south of the British Isles. East of the Appalachian Range the coal should have been laid down with marine (salt water) fossils, but nearer to the land we would expect refuse from the land vegetation washed down to the sea, and saturated with water, it should have sank to the bottom where the carbon was. Somewhere we would expect in view of the glacial period following the rupturing of a canopy, to find *loess mixed with the carbon, like mud. This condition should be found in the great central basin with its fairly quiet waters (The North American Inland Sea) rather than in the restless churning waters of the ocean (And so it has as noted in the diagrams below.) Along the east side of the Rocky Mountains we would expect to find some anthracite and west of that bituminous. But whatever anthracite is found, it would not be beyond our expectations to find it where bituminous coal predominates. Since even on the interior of the continents, coal was water-laid during periods of glacial movement, we would expect this period to be of violence and mountain making. These processes involve not only North America, but the whole earth at the same time.
Note: The great central basin is in actually comprised of six individual basins.
*Loess is a sedimentary deposit composed largely of silt-size grains that are loosely cemented by calcium carbonate.
Let us visualize a canopy formed overhead, with no blue sky appearing. The underside of the canopy is beyond 20,000 miles above us, and with sunlight filtering through; it reveals many shades of grey as well as colors of brighter hues. This liquid mass forming in the carboniferous age must contain carbon as the base for the coal beds, and it must also have bitumen, and other materials that are attracted to carbon. Otherwise the coal would not have formed but would have been graphite. Coal contains many elements besides carbon. The carbon might be present in various forms beside black crystals, as gas in carbon dioxide probably in water solution, as a white substance in combination with calcium, eventually to become limestone, and other possible combinations. Along with the carbon we would expect to find other earth materials such as silica, sodium, alumina, and of course ample water. As the canopy moves poleward, some of the heavier spots may leave the rest and plunge eastward, but the greater mass awaits the breaking at the equator, and then over a matter of days all of that canopy comes to earth, the liquid parts in polar regions as ice and snow mixed with earth material, in the equatorial regions as rain mixed with other matter. Do you see now why the larger beds of coal are toward the poles? How coal can be water-laid between layers of glacial drift? Why coal seams are intercalated by deposits of water-laid rock? Why on the Atlantic Seaboard we would expect anthracite deposits farther east, and the lighter bituminous farther inland, where the seashore or bays once were?
As we had stated before the three primary elements necessary to the production of coal according to the vegetation theory are, heat, pressure, and time, Time being the essential element.
“Since the beginning of man’s history, he has always acknowledged some divinity greater than himself. In man’s original conception this divinity was an all-wise, all-powerful creative being. Later, man divided up his conceptions of the attributes of divinity into polytheism, endowing each of his gods with certain powers, prerogatives, and duties. Among the Greeks and Romans there was a rather inferior god who was seldom mentioned, but to whom was assigned certain important duties. To the Greeks, he was Chronos, to the Romans, Tempus.
When the scientists of the present age rejected the thought of an intelligent creator-god, they bowed down before the altar of Chronos, for here was a god, while not intelligent, was at least mathematical, and since he was the personification of Time, here was a god who could supply all the time necessary to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Having at his disposal infinite time, Chronos could produce beds of material out of older material in which the newly deposited material had never existed. How? Time! Chronos could take primeval carbon and carrying it through the hydro-carbons of plant life, could convert it into fuel carbon in our coal beds. (That is He could in the Polar Regions, even if He failed to do it in the tropics.) How? Why, Time!
There is one thing about the Ring and Canopy theory as regards time that seems to be in its favor? It is not predicated upon any length of time. While naturally it rejects the theory of Bishop Usher (and the thought of literal 24-hour days of creation), it can also reject just as strongly the sacred cows of the cult of Chronos (who ascribe hundreds of millions of years to creation, note we refer not to the creation of the earth itself, but to the preparation of the earth for the arrival of man). The older concepts of evolution and vegetable coal among others saw the inherent weaknesses and their great need for this old-new god with vast periods of time in order to permit Time to perform miracles without being miraculous. But the Ring and Canopy theory requires only such time as will permit the operations of natural law. Since either a short or a long period of time will fit in the frame work of this theory, depending on facts, we can take a very natural view of the controversy, and make our inquiry only with a desire to ascertain the real facts, and not to fit the various guesses offered as theories.
Did you ever stop to think that Time as such is non-existent except here on earth? (Amongst finite beings) We measure time by the events of the earth, its rotation on its axis, the phases of the moon, the swing of the earth around the sun, and the gradual movement of the sun through the various signs of the zodiac at the time of the spring equinox, all of these very short periods of eternity. As we move out into space such time ceases, and we are literally in a timeless universe.
For a more in debt examination of the much of what we have presented, please see “Rings and Canopies, Biblical Geology and the Vailian Theory” By F. L. Parsons
We shall examine the forth “day” or epoch in our next post.