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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Abiogenic Oil!

Timothy Birdnow

Abiogenic oil and gas!

From the article in Popular Science:

"A new study demonstrates how high hydrocarbons could be formed from methane deep within the Earth, aside from the compression and heating of ancient animal remains over the eons. Fused-methane oil would be far less common than your typical petroleum, of course, but the study shows abiogenic hydrocarbons could conceivably occur in some of the planet’s high-pressure and high-temperature zones.

Petroleum Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used supercomputers to simulate what would happen to carbon and hydrogen atoms buried 40 to 95 miles beneath the Earth’s crust, where they would be subjected to prodigious pressures and temperatures.

They found at temperatures greater than 2,240 degrees F and pressures 50,000 times greater than those at the Earth’s surface, methane molecules can fuse to form hydrocarbons with multiple carbon atoms. Interactions with metal or carbon sped up the fusion process, the researchers said. These conditions are present about 70 miles down, according to an LLNL news release.

Methane, CH4, has one carbon and four hydrogen atoms; high hydrocarbons, like propane and butane, have more carbon atoms."

End Excerpt.

So, the Russians could well be right and "fossil fuels" may be anything but. We could have unlimited supplies of hydrocarbon fuels leaking into pools, just waiting for our drills, yet we continue with this mad scheme of windmills and solar cells and everyone living poor because we are "running out of energy".

Actually, the article says none of that; they simply point out that oil and gas CAN be produced from chemicals without fossils. The Russians believe that much - if not all - of the oil and gas is abiogenic, but it may be that only a small percentage is. Still, exceptions often prove the rule, and we may be forced to rethink our entire view of fossil fuels - and peak oil. Perhaps we can rethink our entire view of geological processes while we are at it.

Any way you slice it, it's an exciting bit of information. Maybe we'll have oil wells on Mars? I can see it now; a transplanted Texan with his enclosed hat and sealed cowboy boots planting a huge oil derrick on the ground at Utopia Planitia, his gushers shooting out hundreds of feet in the low gravity and air pressure. (I know; it wouldn't happen that way). Perhaps Mars will be a redoux of Texas, complete with dusty trails, oil drives (instead of cattle), saloons with drunken bar fights for the oil workers. Of course, it would be a bit pricey to send that oil to market...

Git along little doogies!

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