RE: Coal and YEC models

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sat Jul 27 2002 - 13:17:50 EDT

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    I wrote:
    >> The quantity of coal in John Hunt's work is all in the world, including
    >thin seams.

    Bill asked:
    >Does Hunt include lignite as coal? What about peat?

    I went back to check Hunt and must correct one erroneous thing I said. He
    does NOT include the thin seams. Hunt writes:

    "Averitt (1969, p. 82) estimated total coal originally in place for 50
    countries of the world to be about 17 10^12 tons, which is equivalent to
    15 10^18 g. As coal occurs in stratified beds which continue over
    extensive areas, this figure probably is fairly accurate. It does not
    include, however, the small thin beds of coal that are generally disregarded
    by mining geologists."

    Now, coal reserves, outlined in BP's Statistical Review of Energy, are 1 x
    10^18 g of carbon or approximately 1 x 10^12 tons. Reserves are what you can
    feasibly get out of the ground. There is no way to get coal out of the
    ground if it is 10,000 feet down.

    In looking up the database begun by Averitt it includes lignite but not

    And I might note that one can use a lognormal distribution to statistically
    estimate the total quantity of coal on earth and it would be significantly
    larger than the above values.


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    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []On
    >Behalf Of Bill Payne
    >Sent: Friday, July 26, 2002 8:58 PM
    >Subject: Re: Coal and YEC models
    >On Fri, 26 Jul 2002 04:58:36 -0700 "Glenn Morton"
    ><> writes:
    >> David Campbell wrote on Thursday, July 25, 2002 5:02 PM
    >> >A couple of additional considerations:
    >> >
    >> >Not all plant biomass makes it into coal. Various organisms,
    >> >including certain bacteria, protists, and fungi can consume wood, and
    >> >many others can digest less durable plant tissue such as leaves.
    >> >Lignitized wood from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic commonly is full of
    >> >holes from shipworms and other wood-boring bivalves (which have
    >> >symbiotic bacteria and protists to digest the cellulose). This also
    >> >raises the question of how long the wood had to sit exposed on the
    >> >seafloor for the shipworms to make their holes, which can raise
    >> >problems for flood geology models.
    >> This consumption also raises the quantity of plant matter which must
    >grow in
    >> the first place to account for the coal we see. Thus in the
    >calculation I
    >> presented the other day, if half of all wood is eaten, one must have 2
    >> world's full of tropical rain forests.
    >I think it was Jack Pashin, who is at the U of AL where David now is, say
    >that the Cretaceous and later coals were commonly degraded by bacteria,
    >but the Pennsylvanian coals were not degraded. Do you agree with this
    >David? If so, to what do you attribute the _lack_ of degradation of
    >Pennsylvanian coals?
    >> >A variety of coal deposits are not currently economical to mine and
    >> >may be omitted from some databases. Don't forget the Triassic rift
    >> >valley coals in the Atlantic coast states and the Cretaceous coals in
    >> >the Plains (in Canada and the U.S.) in calculating total volume.
    >It's been years since I've seen the lignite deposits of south Alabama,
    >but I seem to remember them as looking like peat - full of roots and
    >certainly not banded like the typical Pennsylvanian coals of the eastern
    >US. Coals of this type would be swamp deposits and not transported.
    >What is the morphology of the Triassic and Cretaceous coals you mention?
    >> The quantity of coal in John Hunt's work is all in the world, including
    >thin seams.
    >Does Hunt include lignite as coal? What about peat?
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