Friday, July 12, 2002

The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth
The deposits of hydrocarbons in the crust of the Earth have long been regarded by many investigators as deriving from materials incorporated in the mantle at the time of the Earth's formation. Outgassing processes, active in all geological epochs, then transported the liquids and gases liberated there into porous rocks of the crust. The alternative viewpoint, that biological debris was the source material for all crustal hydrocarbons, gained widespread acceptance when molecules of clearly biological origin were found to be present in most commercial crude oils.
Okay - here's the paper that started it all. There's a lot of speculation here, and I honestly don't have the education to evaluate it properly. It seems coherent, however, and the ideas seem to hang together (the flushing out of helium from rock, for example) so...

Heck if I know. But it sounds plausible. And, given the current state of knowledge, more so than the idea that it's all a bunch of boiled down dinosaurs...

Ane a bit more...

Supplies of oil may be inexhaustible - 05/29/02
On April 16, Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, published a startling report that old oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico were somehow being refilled. That is, new oil was being discovered in fields where it previously had not existed.
Scientists, led by Mahlon Kennicutt of Texas A&M University, speculate that the new oil is surging upward from deposits well below those currently in production. "Very light oil and gas were being injected from below, even as the producing was going on," he said.
Although it is not yet known whether this is a worldwide phenomenon or commercially important, the new discovery suggests that there may be far more oil and gas within the Earth's core than previously thought.
Kennicutt is not the first to suggest that vast hydrocarbon deposits may lie well below those currently known. In 1995, the New York Times reported that geochemist Jean Whelan of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts had also found evidence that oil was moving upward into reservoirs from somewhere far deeper.
Oil heresy? Once tapped, forever gone - or so the thinking went.

Well, guess the old "good news, bad news" routine still works. Bad news is, the ME is about to destroy itself. Good news is, we won't have to depend on them for oil anyway...

Here's a for and against argument on the subject.

Supplies of oil may be inexhaustible - Forum On War

Seems to me a simple thing to do would be to just do quantity checks of the old tapped-out holes. Is there oil, or isn't there?

Ah, petrochemical and geology theology. Gotta love it...

Now, this one is a mix of geological science and Fortean philosophy. Can you tell where one ends and the other begins?

The End of Fossil Fuels
With a title like The End of Fossil Fuels you may think that this is an article about alternative energy or "free" energy, but alas, it is not. It is an attempt to describe the inadequacy of the term "fossil fuel" and to prevent its further usage in the English language through education in the mysteries of the hydrocarbon structures in the earth. I can't blame people for having used this misleading phrase, being guilty myself. We are regularly taught such misconceptions in school. But one should always be ready to learn new ideas and concepts, especially once the evidence is investigated.
Hmmm. It gets more interesting.

In this letter... synthetic motor oil historical overview is the following.
What Gold was attempting to prove was that petroleum is not a scarce resource in danger of being soon depleted. This is because oil and gas are not, according to Gold, byproducts of ancient animal life. Gold was attempting to prove his theory that oil and gas come from the earth itself.

Six arguments for drawing this conclusion are as follows:

1. The geographical distribution of oil seems derived from features much larger in scale than individual sedimentary features.

2. The quantities of oil and gas available are hundreds of times those estimated on the basis of biological origins.

3. The so-called "molecular fossils" found in oil and claimed as proof of a biogenic origin are simply biological contaminants, particularly bacteria that feed upon the petroleum.

4. Petroleum is largely saturated with hydrogen, whereas buried biological matter should exhibit a deficiency of hydrogen.

5. Oil and gas are often rich in helium, an inert gas which biological processes cannot concentrate.

6. The great oil reservoirs of the Middle East are in diverse geological provinces. There is no unifying feature for the region as a whole and, especially, no sediments rich in biological debris that could have produced these immense concentrations of oil and gas.
Makes you wonder. I'll see what else I can find. Maybe I need to start another blog - the "Slippery Times"...

I'm going to do several odd bits here on non-organic petroleum. Quick synopsis, it looks like the theory that oil's pressed-out and cooked dinosaur leftovers isn't matching the evidence being found. There was one great article on it that I'm having a heck of a time finding again, but I'll keep looking.


Deep petroleum and the non-organic oils
The discovery of deep bacteria at depths heretofore unsuspected6 has come at the same time as the discovery of ancient petroleum. The organic theory views these as representing survivals of organisms entombed since Archaean times. In the non-organic theory, these bacteria were incorporated into the forming Earth, and are ascendng from the depths to the surface. Hence, the non-organic theory can explain most aspects of the recently-discovered Archaean petroleum as well as the deep bacteria as consistently as the organic theory can.
No wonder the non-organic theory is slowly gaining wider acceptance as an alternative to the organic theory. Robert O. Russell, a wellsite geologist at the first well in North America (at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada) drilled into crystalline basement granitic shield rocks for the express purpose of commercial hydrocarbon exploration, has pointed out that there are more than 400 wells and fields worldwide, both off-shore and on-shore that produce or have recently produced oil from igneous rocks7. This fact alone indicates that many aspects relating to the origin of petroleum need to be revised. Thomas Gold8, a distinguished proponent of the non-organic theory, has expanded the application of the non-organic theory to all hydrocarbons, including coal.