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Joggins, Nova Scotia

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An upright tree preserved in the cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia.

At Joggins, Nova Scotia are found many thousands of upright fossilized stumps -- most of which either possess no roots at all, roots that are missing their rootlets, or roots that have been truncated. Only about 1 out of 50 trees is preserved with both its roots and rootlets intact—thus indicating that very likely none of these fossil stumps are "in situ" (i.e. in their original growth positions). Further evidence of this is the fact that many sections of this strata possess rootlets that were at one time attached to a tree, but were buried individually. The implications of this are that the whole 14,000 foot section of strata at Joggins was (likely) deposited very rapidly, and that the eras of the geological time chart may not represent different eras separated by millions of years, but rather simply different phases of a single worldwide event. This is further substantiated by the fact that the same types of deposits, with the same types of (now extinct) fossil trees and other plants, and coal seams, are found in various locations in the United States, England, France, and Germany.

Interestingly, the polystrate plants here are giant hollow reeds, not trees. The Lycopods and the Calamites are the polystrate plants. There are trees here, from the class called Cordaitales. While also numerous, essentially none are polystrate. In four years of personal studies, Ian Juby has only documented one polystrate cordaitales stump, which was exceptionally small and cut through approximately 15 inches of sediments. It is the weaker, hollow reeds which have remained standing. At the bottom of Coal Mine Point (a large point off to the right from the entrance stairs) is an undercut which exposes two layers of prostrate, Cordaitales logs. Yet cutting through both these layers (separated by over two vertical feet) are polystrate Calamites, the giant, hollow horsetail reeds.

It is highly unlikely that these Calamites plants were buried "in situ" while a raging flood leveled solid wood trees! Instead, consider that the logs and the calamites were drifting in a mud-flow together, with the calamites becoming upright for reasons unknown.

Juby has documented dozens of polystrate calamites plants at Joggins, yet never found one with intact roots. If these are buried "in situ", then why do they have no roots? These are just as common and just as important as the much larger Lycopods.

The polystrate position of the giant reeds is a mystery to both uniformitarians and catastrophists. Clearly they are not buried in situ, yet why would they remain upright during burial, whilst the trees themselves remained prostrate?

Simultaneously, this also rules out the "Spirit Lake" scenario that some Creationists have mistakenly pointed to as an analog to the Joggins deposits. The Mt. St. Helens Catastrophe and the subsequent log mat in Spirit Lake undoubtedly has profound implications for the polystrate forests we find around the world, like Specimen Ridge, Axel Heiberg Island, etc... However, this scenario applies to trees, not giant, hollow reeds. The trees at Joggins are prostrate, the giant reeds are polystrate, and sometimes in the same layer!


The Evidence from the roots

Smalllycopod.jpg

While some stumps do not have intact roots, the ones that do only add to the allochthonous (transported) emplacement.

The photo on the right is a smaller lycopod, but clearly visible. If you look closely, you can follow the roots from the bottom of the stump and note that they've been crushed. This crushing would have happened before the sediments lithified (turned to rock), before the plant coalified, and before the sediments within the plant lithified. These roots would have required enormous amounts of overburden to be crushed like this. This all speaks of rapid burial with enormous amounts of overburden, and all roots that are present are crushed in to failure in some way.

Furthermore, many roots that are present show negative geotropism, that is they were apparently not influenced by gravity—they were floating. The rootlets radiate in all directions, including up, instead of primarily down as they went towards the water table. Many of the roots actually bend up above what would be assumed to be "ground level". This implies transport and emplacement by flood sediments, not in-situ growth and burial.

Evidence from plant distortions:

Joggins poly1.jpg

In the second photo, Ian Juby is standing at the base of what could be a record-holding polystrate lycopod from Joggins.

He is pointing to the cavity (highlighted in yellow) left behind by the top of the plant, and one branch (highlighted in red) is still in place. All total this plant cut through almost 30 feet of sedimentary layers. Clearly the top of the plant did not stick around for even tens of years, let alone hundreds, thousands, or millions as would be presumed to be required for such large amounts of sedimentary deposits. It was buried quick enough to preserve even the branches at the top!

The entire trunk exhibits a common characteristic seen in the polystrate plants at Joggins: They all bend and/or tilt toward the bedding plane. This is to the North (to the left in this photo), yet all paleocurrent indicators show past currents as going south, and all prostrate tree trunks are oriented in a North/South direction, adding to the paleocurrent indication.

The simplest explanation for all of the polystrate plants bending (stratigraphically thousands of meters apart and geographically kilometers apart) in the same direction, is that they were still soft plants when the entire formation was tilted to the South.

Evidence Relating to the Genesis of Coal

The coal seams here are of special interest, both in their number and thickness. This was the second largest coal mine in Nova Scotia during its time. The conventional interpretation of peat bogs' being compressed into coal seams is clearly refuted as there a number of coal seams here less than 1 inch thick. We simply do not have 1 inch deep swamps and peat bogs today, so obviously the present cannot be the key to the past in this regard. Furthermore, the numerous Cordaitales tree trunks found throughout the formation usually exhibit both coalification (of the outside bark) and petrification of the wood core. Sometimes, as can also be seen in the polystrate fossil trees in coal mines in Alaska, the tree rings alternate between coalified and petrified.

It appears that coal requires soft wood and bark, not peat.

In addition, in the paper cited below on the Underclays of Joggins, the author provides the data for the underclays, understones, and shales of Coal Groups 1-12 of the Joggins strata. His conclusion is quoted below:

"Therefore, out of 44 possible soils, only 3 contain both roots and rootlets that are also situated beneath a coal. When we take into account Dawson's eagerness to prove that the coals were formed in place, it is fairly safe to say that if any of these "soils" contained roots with attached rootlets, he would have eagerly said so. However, since he didn't, then to say that such beds represent in situ growth of multiple "forests" is highly questionable."

References