The article is a good example where facts are either trashed, or modified, to make up a good story. For example, one absolute fact that is witnessed by anyone who visits some of the open cut mines in Germany (Australia and other places), is that seams of brown coal are up to 40 meters deep, and cover many square kilometers - these seems are coal mass, and 1-5wt% ash, 50wt% water, all forming a seem that is unbroken (over-seam of up to 20 meters, and inter-seam clays and sand of half to 1 meter can be found). This cannot be explained by the simplistic and fictitious story put forward by this article. The process of coalification of wood and shrubs is still a matter of investigation and speculation. So while understand the various coals have their origin in trees and other vegetation and action of these “bugs” they mention, how this has led to the current deposits is still poorly understood.
Until now. It is no longer still a matter of investigation and speculation as the article states.
Present your evidence that falsifies this article. Otherwise, learn something new from the article.
“The wide, shallow seas of the Carboniferous Period provided ideal conditions for coal formation, although coal is known from most geological periods. The exception is the coal gap in the Permian–Triassic extinction event [about 252 Ma (million years) ago], where coal is rare. Coal is known from Precambrian strata, which predate land plants — this coal is presumed to have originated from residues of algae.”
Link to the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event …
The article does not present anything that is worth investigating. The chemical reactions associated with the conversion of lignin into lignite have been the subject of research since the 1980’s (search the literature such as the journals Energy&Fuels, Fuel, Geochemistry, under topics such as coal models, coalification, just to mention a few) - experimental and molecular modelling work is continuing on understanding the heterogeneous substances we term coal, and recently models have been constructed that can be examined using molecular mechanics (smaller representative molecular models have been developed for QM work, but this requires large computer resources). I have provided a simple example which can enable anyone to try and imagine how a seam of 10’s of meters deep, and covering square kilometers, cannot form if we envisage a simple falling down of big trees, and these are covered by other trees and vegetation - such simplistic ideas cannot possibly account for what we observe, even if anaerobic and aerobic conditions with bugs that pop up unexpectedly, were to be assumed. Whatever such mechanism you imagine, the end result would be a mixture of rotting vegetation, clays, sand, and other minerals. The fact that we have a continuous seam would require a different mechanism than falling trees combined with bugs. We would need to account for these obvious facts before we consider deeper and more complicated mechanism that ultimately convert wood and vegetation into peat, brown coal, black coal and anthracite.
I repeat, such simplistic notions may appeal to populists, but they are vacuous and are often misleading.
The lack of a wood eating bacteria in this time period is very interesting and obviously worth investigation by the researchers who investigated it. It shows that a lot of coal formed from trees in the time period when wood eating bacteria were not there. It also shows why there is less coal from other time periods. Why can’t you accept the paper at face value as a new result in our understanding of coal?
It is difficult to communicate with you - as a last attempt, provide one example where wood can be changed into coal, under any conditions any scientist can create in any laboratory. If a notion cannot be tested, it must be regarded with great skepticism - this is so for all of science.
And it is difficult to communicate with you. The process that happened to create coal is well understood. The paper I posted just gives another aspect of it - the lack of wood eating bacteria in a certain time period.
Patrick - a word to the wise. You may want to enquire about GJDS’s specific field of professional expertise before you start telling him what is and isn’t understood about coal.
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