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Thread: Oil Deposits not Fossil Fuels?

  1. #1 Oil Deposits not Fossil Fuels? 
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    I have read that some scientist claim that the earths fossil fuel deposits are natural formations having nothing to do with decomposing living organisms.
    This is an interesting theory which if true, then earths oil would be self sustaining as the natural process of converting inorganic chemicals like methane into liquid oil is continuing right now in the depths of the earth. Wondering what thoughts readers here might have as to the probability of this.


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Soviet scientists long held the view that oil is abiogenic. They designed their exploration programs around this concept. I have spoken with several recent Russian geology graduates and this view seems to have lost popularity.

    In the West the idea was strongly promoted by Thomas Gold. He argues roughly as follows:
    a) Meteors often contain organic matter.
    b) The earth formed from the aggregation of meteors.
    c) Therefore there should be a large volume of organic material in the mantle.
    d) Over geologic time this should make its way to the crust
    e) Gold then postulated The Deep Hot Biosphere where micro-organisms would convert this raw material to the oil we know and love.

    I suspect some oil and gas does originate in this way, but I believe the bulk of it is certainly of organic origin. Thirty years ago I sold analyses of source rocks to oil companies. I have forgotten 98% of what I knew then, but I do recall a total conviction that the biological signatures, the range of organics present, the composition of oil in reservoirs versus source material, all combined to leave no plausible alternative other than the oil was biological in origin.

    This is certainly the mainstream view and only the nutter fraternity seem to be promoting abiogenic sources these days.


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  4. #3  
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    Yes, Ophiolite is quite right. The abiogenic theroy is pretty discredited. Oil is containing biomarkers like pristanes or phytanes. They can be traced to life forms like algae, bacteriae, flower plant, coniferes etc... This is killing pretty well this theory.

    Biomarkers are very useful as they can indicate the ecosystem, the age etc... of an oil.
    Methan can have abiogenic origins. But not in large quantity. That's pretty all we can say.
    Now, that in space, there are large source of abiogenic hydrocarbons, I can't deny it, but space is space.
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  5. #4  
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    Soviet scientists long held the view that oil is abiogenic.
    I have doubts that this theory was ever central in Soviet geology.
    Antislavery
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanley514
    Soviet scientists long held the view that oil is abiogenic.
    I have doubts that this theory was ever central in Soviet geology.
    This quotation is suggestive rather than conclusive, but tends to support my understanding.

    .....this theory is supported by a large minority of geologists in Russia, where it was intensively developed in the 1950s and 1960s, ......

    http://www.mathdaily.com/lessons/Abi...troleum_origin
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  7. #6  
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    this is very fascinating! i would love to hear any research other posters have done regarding abiological hydrocarbons or read any other credible sources.
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  8. #7  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Thomas Gold, The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels (1971) Springer-Verlag ISBN:0-387-95253-5
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    You can also read a bit about this in Genesis, by Robert Hazen.
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  10. #9  
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    Great! Thanks for the info.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like this area of research could use more exposure
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  11. #10  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    defunct science usually dies from more exposure (apart from in the minds of a few individuals)
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Yeah, it didn't have a lot of traction.
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  13. #12  
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    Well, it is fascinating still. Thanks for the info!
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  14. #13  
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    On my side, I am very open to new hypothesis but biomarkers are there.
    I saw once hydrocarbons in eruptive rocks. This was some in the Kaiserstuhl mountain, an alkaline volcanoe in the west of Black Forest. Inside phonolite, there was some kind of small geodes with bitumen inside. If I remember well, the explanations given by the geology professor of the University of Freiburg was that it was organic matter cooked by the lava
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