Coffin, Harold G. +quot;Sonar and Scuba Survey of a Submerged Allochthonous +quot;Forest+q

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

Coffin, Harold G. "Sonar and Scuba Survey of a Submerged Allochthonous "Forest" in Spirit Lake, Washington" Palaios 2: 178-180, l987. [Coffin, a well-known creationist, is at the Geoscience Research Institute, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350.] ABSTRACT--A log raft (>5.1 km2) covering more than half the surface of Spirit Lake formed as a result of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Since then, erect floating stumps have settled to the lake bottom. In August, 1985, side-scan sonar transects covering approximately 0.8% of the lake bottom revealed 154 erect stumps. Extrapolation to the entire bottom area indicates that there would be about 19,500 submerged erect stumps. Observations at Spirit Lake suggest that lacustrine environments receiving trees uprooted by catastrophic events have the potential to preserve accumulations of erect trees that are difficult to distinguish from in situ forests. [Under the heading, "Comparisons with Petrified Forests," Coffin discusses some of the implications of his observations.] The observation of standing allochthonous submerged "forests" in the process of being buried may aid in the interpretation of petrified forests from similar settings. Questions concerning the origin of the Yellowstone Petrified Forests have been raised and mechanisms for the allochthonous emplacement of upright stumps have been suggested...Thirty to 75% of the petrified trees of the Yellowstone Petrified Forests are erect...compared to approximagely 60% for the sunken forest in Spirit Lake and the trees in the surrounding blowdown area are usually broken off but the small roots may be intact. The petrified forests in the Paleocene Sentinel Butte Formation of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and adjacent areas in western North Dakota provided an opportunity for a density count of 45 petrified erect stumps in a 4697 m2 area, which translates to 96 trees per hectare. If these North Dakota petrified trees are allochthonous, they were probably deposited by fluvial processes...as were the trees in the North Toutle River Valley west of Mt. St. Helens. ... The allochthonous or autochthonous origin of some petrified forests may never be settle conclusively, but the floating mat and sunken "forest" of Spirit Lake illustrate a viable mechanism for the transport and deposition of upright stumps. Trees uprooted by catastrophic events may settle to the bottom in an upright position in lacustrine environments with sufficiently deep water. [It's very encouraging to see this publication by Coffin, with a plain acknowledgment of the work of ICR staff member Steve Austin--"I thank Steve Austin for much assistance with underwater photography, field research, calculations, and interpretations"--in a journal which recently published a rather bitter editorial by William Bennetta against creationists, and non-evolutionary theories of origins.]

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank