Addresses of All Authors

Roger W. Sanders, Core Academy of Science, PO Box 1076, Dayton, TN 37321 rsanders4175@gmail.com

Steven A. Austin, Cedarville University, 251 N. Main St., Cedarville, OH 45314. mudflowman@comcast.net

Author's Biography

Roger W. Sanders earned a Ph.D. in systematic botany at the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. After working for nearly 30 years as a theistic evolutionist with public and private research organizations, he adopted the young-age position and later taught seven years at Bryan College. In 2013 he helped found Core Academy of Science in which he served as faculty until retiring recently. He and his wife of 38 years have two grown children and one grandchild.

Steven A. Austin earned a Ph.D. in coal petrology at the Pennsylvania State University in 1979. For over 40 years he has taught geology and conducted field studies on six continents. In 2008 he was one of the founders of Logos Research Associates where he serves as Senior Research Geologist. Currently he also serves as adjunct professor of geology at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. He and his wife Kelly live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kelly M. Austin, M.D. is professor of surgery at University of Pittsburgh and director of the Advanced Critical Care Fellowship at Children’s Hospital Pittsburgh.


A review of the history of the debate on origin of Carboniferous coal shows the priority that autochthonists have placed on paleobotanical data and interpretation. New data and methodology are offered here for interpreting the paleobotany and paleoecology of dominant Carboniferous coal plants: tree lycopsids and the tree-fern Psaronius. Lycopsid and tree-fern anatomies are characterized by air-filled chambers for buoyancy with rooting structures that are not suited for growth into and through terrestrial soil. Lycopsid development included boat-like dispersing spores, establishment of abundant buoyant, photosynthetic, branching and radiating rhizomorphs prior to upright stem growth, and prolonged life of the unbranched trunk prior to abrupt terminating growth of reproductive branches. The tree fern Psaronius is now understood better than previously to have had a much thicker, more flaring, and further spreading outer root mantle that formed a buoyant raft. Its increasingly heavy leaf crown was counterbalanced by forcing the basally rotting cane-like trunk and attached inner portion of the root mantle continually deeper underwater. Lycopsids and tree-ferns formed living floating mats capable of supporting the trunks. Paleobotany of coal plants should now be best understood as supporting a floating raft that deposited the detritus that now forms Carboniferous coal beds.


Floating mat model, origin of coal, Carboniferous paleobotany, paleoecology, tree lycopsids, Lepidophloios, Stigmaria, tree fern, Psaronius




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