Newsgroups: talk.origins Subject: Re: Human fossils in coal (was: Human/hominid and other...) Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 22:05:13 -0600 Lines: 270 Message-ID: X-NNTP-Posting-Host: [184.108.40.206] Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" X-Mail2News-Path: alex.intersurf.net![220.127.116.11] Subject: Re: Human fossils in coal (was: Human/hominid and other...) Distribution: world Given the sparks flying in the thread _Re: Human/hominid and other large-animal remains in Carboniferous strata_, I thought that I might provide some background data to the heated exchange under a different title. This is also to make good on a comment that the concretions like those alleged to be bones have been studied and published on. -- Geological Background -- Ted Holden in his web page _Petrified human/hominid and other large animal bone in Carboniferous strata_ on these curiosities stated: _I was on a field trip in the coal mining districts of Pennsylvania Saturday 3/16/96 in the environs of the town of Shenandoah, and saw a number of things with shattering consequences to the field of paleontology and to all of our ideas about the antiquity of man and about the age of our Earth._ Similarly, in the article from _The Spotlight_ that Mr. Conrad reprinted is datelined from Shenandoah and notes that the material was _stumbled upon in Schuylkill County seven years ago._ Thus, a person can assume that the material came from the mines around Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. The general geology of the Shenandoah area can be determined from: 1. Danilchik, W., Rothrock, H. E., Wagner, H. C., 1955, Geology of anthracite in the western part of the Shenandoah Quadrangle, Pennsylvania. Coal-Investigations-Map C-0021, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA 2. Kehn, Thomas Mathew, and Wagner, Holly, Clyde, 1955, Geology of anthracite in the eastern part of the Shenandoah Quadrangle, Pennsylvania. Coal Investigations Map C-0019, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA From the above geological maps, it is clearly obvious that the coal and the mining within the Shenandoah area is restricted to Bear and adjacent other ridges. These ridges are underlain by the Llewellyn Formation which contains the minable seams (Levine and Eggleston 1992, Wood and Arndt 1969). As shown by U. S. Geological Survey (1955), mining and the dumping of mine waste has extensively and almost completely altered the surface of Bear Ridge. It is within the Llewellyn Formation that the concretions claimed to be bones occur. 1. Wood, G. H. Jr., and Arndt, H. H., 1969, Geologic map of the Shenandoah Quadrangle, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Geologic Quadrangle Map GQ-0781, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA. 2. Levine, J. R., and Eggleston, Jane R., 1992, Field trip guidebook; the anthracite basins of eastern Pennsylvania. Open File Report OF 92-0568, United-States U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 72 p. 3. U. S. Geological Survey, 1955, Shenandoah Quadrangle Pennsylvania - Schuylkill County 7.5 Minute (Topographic), 1:24,000 scale, U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia. As stated by Levine and Eggleston (1992, p. 5), _Lithologically, she Llewellyn Formation is a complex heterogeneous mixture of clastic rock types ranging from conglomerate to clay shale and includes numerous coal beds. The upper one-third of the formation is present only in a limited area of the Southern field and is so poorly exposed that little detail is available. The lower two-thirds is characterized by continuous rapid vertical and lateral variability. Llewellyn rocks range in color from light gray to dark gray, gray-black. black, yellow-gray, and some green gray and brown-gray. Fossilized plant material is common throughout. Most Llewellyn clastics may be classified as subgraywackes._ The thickest preserved section of the Llewellyn Formation is about 1700 m (3400 ft) thick. This entire thickness of the Llewellyn Formation contains numerous fossil soils and sedimentary structures and facies indicative of sediments deposited by northwestward flowing rivers and streams (Levine and Eggleston 1992, Wood et al. 1986). During the Middle and Upper Pennsylvanian, these rivers were part pf a broad, low-lying plain. To the southeast, these plains graded into alluvial fans lying at the base of a southwest-northeast trending mountain range that cut across the southeast corner of Pennsylvania. To the northwest these rivers fed deltas bordering a shallow sea within central and western Pennsylvania (Levine and Eggleston 1992, Wood et al. 1986). Levine, J. R., and Eggleston, Jane R., 1992, Field trip guidebook; the anthracite basins of eastern Pennsylvania. Open File Report OF 92-0568, United-States U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 72 p. Wood, G. H., Kehn, T. M., and Eggleston, J. R., 1986, Depositional and structural history of the Pennsylvanian Anthracite region. In Paleoenvironmental Controls in Coal-Forming Basins of the United States. Geological Society of America Special Paper no. 210, Boulder, Colorado. Both Mr. Holden and Mr. Conrad claim that the strata containing their alleged bones, which is about two-thirds of mile thick, was deposited during a single flood despite its thickness; the presence of numerous fossil, buried soils, called paleosols; and despite the presence of well-defined sedimentary deposits containing the lithologies and sedimentary structures characteristic of sediments deposited by rivers and streams as floodplains, swamps, and deltas and by shallow seas as sea bottom, beaches, and shorefaces. -- Carbonate Nodules -- In his web page, Ted Holden suggests three possible explanations by saying: _The evidence seems to suggest one of three possibilities: * 1. humans/hominids were around in the Carboniferous period, conventionally dated to 300m years ago. * 2. The Carboniferous period is vastly more recent than conventionally dated. * 3. The evidence is the result of an elaborate hoax._ The one possibility that Mr. Holden fails to mention is that these alleged bones are actually carbonate concretions as even Mr. Conrad admits was told him. In his testimony, Mr. Conrad states: _ But in each and every case my specimens were called concretions - certainly not petrified bone, even though opinions were based strictly on visual observation, without testing of any kind._ The problem is that concretions are so well known and described from the Pennsylvanian strata of the Anthracite region and many, many other places, that it is very easy, even trivial, to identify them as such without testing of any kind. For example, calcareous concretions, caliche, associated with fossil, buried soils, of a type called _vertisols_, have been known and studied in outcrops of the Mauch Chunk Formation that underlies the Llewellyn and Pottsville Formations. These are calcareous nodules that formed within these soils and in shallow ponds during seasonal dry periods (Holbrook 1970, Levine and Singerland 1987, Levine and Eggleston 1992). Even in coal- bearing strata, vertisols containing caliche nodules have been found to be present (Joeckel 1995). A significant aspect of caliche is that it often forms around and will preserve fossil bone (Retallack 1984). Thus, it would be expected that at least some thin sections made of caliche nodules can contain bone exhibiting the typical structure of bone. It would be easy to either misinterpret or misrepresent the inclusions of bone in caliche nodules as evidence of the nodules themselves being bones. However, calcareous concretions found within the Llewellyn and Pottsville Formations consist of an iron carbonate mineral called _siderite_. As documented by Gardner et al. (1988) and other geologists these nodules are commonly found with the backswamp and lacustrine deposits of Pennsylvanian coal-bearing strata. In fact, Greenleaf and Yemane (1993) found near Shamokin, Pennsylvania an abundance of siderite nodules in the same Llewellyn Formation that underlies Shenandoah. As they note: _The Llewellyn Formation is the major coal-bearing Pennsylvanian-age formation in the anthracite fields of eastern Pennsylvania. It comprises thick sandstones, mudstones, and anthracite-grade coals deposited on alluvial plains. In the abandoned Bear Valley Strip Mine of Shamokin, abundant siderite concretions with cm to m diameter are exposed along the bedding planes of folded beds._ Note that these concretions range in size from centimeter to meter-scale. Greenleaf and Yemane (1993) report that the larger concretions contain the well-preserved remains of whole lycopsid stems and leaves. It is very likely, that these concretions might also contain bones and bone fragments. As a result, it could be possible to section one of these concretions and find well preserved cellular structure of either bone or plant remains. Thus, it might be possible to find and either misinterpret or misrepresent the inclusions of bone in these concretions as evidence of the concretions themselves being bones. Given the odd shapes and sizes that concretions can form, it would very easy for any of the objects so far illustrated by Mr. Holden and Mr. Conrad to be siderite concretions. It many ways, it is a simple explanation of why so many honest scientists, who Mr. Conrad claims without any proof at all to be _dishonest_, identify them as _concretions_. References Gardner, T. W., Williams, E. G., and Holbrook, P. W., 1988, Pedogensis of some Pennsylvanian underclays; ground-water, topographic, and tectonic controls. in J. Reinhardt and W. R. Sigleo (eds.), pp. 81-102, Paleosols and Weathering Through Geologic Time. Geological Society of America Special Paper no. 216, Boulder, Colorado. Greenleaf, J., and Yemane, K., 1993, Depositional and diagenetic records in the siderite concretions of the Llewellyn Formation from the Anthracite field, PA. Geological Society of Abstracts with Programs, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 20. Holbrook, Philip W., 1970, The sedimentology and pedology of the Mauch Chunk Formation (Mississippian) at Pottsville (Schuylkill County), Pennsylvania and their climatic implications. unpublished Master's thesis Franklin and Marshall College, United-States. Joeckel, R. M., 1995, Paleosols below the Ames marine Unit (Upper Pennsylvanian), Comemaugh Group in the Appalachian Basin, U.S.A.: variability on an ancient depositional landscape. Journal of Sedimentary Research, vol. A65, no. 2, pp. 393-407. Levine, J. R., and Eggleston, Jane R., 1992, Field trip guidebook; the anthracite basins of eastern Pennsylvania. Open File Report OF 92-0568, United-States U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia 72 p. Levine, J. R., and Singerland, R., 1987, Upper Mississippian to Middle Pennsylvanian stratigraphic section Pottsville, Pennsylvania. in D. C. Roy (ed.), pp. 59-63, Centennial Field Guide, Volume 5, Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado. Retallack, G., 1984, Completeness of the rock and fossil record: some estimates using fossil soils. Paliobiology. vol. 10, pp. 59-78. It is safe to hypothesize that the so-called Petrified human/hominid and other large animal bone in Carboniferous strata_ Of Mr. Holden and Mr. Conrad are nothing more than odd-shaped siderite nodules like other siderite nodules which have been documented as having been found in the Llewellyn Formation. I also hypothesize that the claims of _deceipt, dishonesty, collusion and conspiracy_ on the part of scientists are mythical and imaginary, although Mr. Conrad believes them to be true. Undoubtedly, enough imagined slights by people sincerely trying to help him have occurred to provide for a detailed accounting of a Satanic, evilutionist, cabal of frauds, cheats, liars, and international scientists and Trilateralists out to smear the good name of the late, great Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky. Sincerely, Paul V. Heinrich (as a private citizen) firstname.lastname@example.org Baton Rouge, LA Earthquakes don't kill people. Overpasses and buildings kill people. -anonymous civil engineer All comments are the personal opinion of the writer and do not constitute policy and/or opinion of government or corporate entities. This includes my employer.