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Thread: Possible Global Killer - please help me figure this out...

  1. #1 Possible Global Killer - please help me figure this out... 
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    The past few days I have been thinking about this problem that we humans are responsible for that could lead to a global catastrophe. First off Please forgive my ignorance regarding modern Physics, I am trying my best to understand how things fit together.

    In any case here is the problem and it has to do with crude oil. Every day, around the world, we are pumping millions of barrels of oil out of the earth? Is that correct? how much does that translate into weight/mass per barrel? Now think about what we do with the oil... We make all sorts of things with it, including plastics and Gasoline. Now, plastics basically maintain their mass through out it's existence, including when it's in the land fills. However oil is also consumed by cars, planes, trains, etc. after refinement. That fuel gets used up in today's jet airplanes and old fashion combustion engines. So what happens to that all that fuel? Well, it is used to go from potential energy to kinetic energy and in that process we have other forms of energy and by products. Such as heat, and gas which gets vented into the atmosphere.

    So we have this tremendous exchange in mass of the earth. So, my question to you fellow experts is, assuming some of the oil gets turned into by products of lesser mass. Does that mean the earth's mass is really less? If this theory is correct then shouldn't our orbit around the sun be changing as well as the moon around the earth. How about the rotational speed of the earth? Even if we are maintaining a constant mass regardless of the oil consumption, another problem I see is that what happens when you remove millions of gallons of oil from deep within the earth and move it to sea-level and higher? doesn't that change the rotational inertia? ie, just like an ice skater shifts their hands from a tucked position to an extended position. The skater has a different rotational speed in both cases...

    I wish I could have made this shorter and sorry for any mistakes I made, but this is the best I can do. I really am anxious to hear what you experts opinions are.

    P.S. The same problem goes to coal excavation as well.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Does that mean the earth's mass is really less?
    No, not at all. Mass is conserved in chemical reactions.

    That fuel gets used up in today's jet airplanes and old fashion combustion engines. So what happens to that all that fuel? Well, it is used to go from potential energy to kinetic energy and in that process we have other forms of energy and by products. Such as heat, and gas which gets vented into the atmosphere.
    The gas that gets vented is where the mass goes. It's water and carbon dioxide plus some oxides of nitrogen and it doesn't leave the planet. The chemical energy contained in the fuel is converted to heat energy during combustion, and a fairly small percentage of that heat energy is converted to kinetic energy, the rest being wasted. None of the mass is converted to energy, except in nuclear reactions.


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  4. #3  
    Time Lord
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    Grecinos2, you've got to get out of the city, take a 747 overseas, see how tiny we are.
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    Grecinos2 - welcome to the board. As you will see, two other members have posted responses to you and those responses are both accurate.

    If you wish for some more comprehensive ideas, here are some:

    1. Human activity in terms of weight change (or mass distribution) on the earth is genuinely, as Pong pointed, minuscule. Look up Wiki and perform a few calculations yourself and you will see what a tiony fraction of the earth's-mass worth of difference we can have made.

    2. Bunbury's point about conservation of mass-energy is very important. Even though the earth is not entirely a closed system, it's gravity keeps it reasonably isolated (inasmuch as not too much matter escapes).

    3. In terms of mass, even should the lighter gases escape from the outer edges of the atmosphere, the earth is bombarded by many tons of extra-terrestrial material annually. We ted to see the largest as the more spectacular - shooting stars et al - but it is worth remembering that there is also a great deal of matter (call it space dust if you will) that the earth captures by virtue of its gravity.

    4. Even where the energy budget is concerned, the amount absorbed the earth, from the huge waves crashing into us from the Sun, tend to balance quite easily the amounts that the earth itself radiates outward in the infra-red and longer wave part of the spectrum.

    Overall, therefore, rest assured - human activity has not in any significant way affected the mass of the earth.
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    Thank you for the warm welcome and the replies . I am in the process of doing the numbers to see what is actually going on. Right now I think I have enough data to make my calculations but I'm having a little trouble calculating the rotational velocity given the change of mass of a certain amount of crude oil from roughly 30,000 feet to sea level. My calculations may be way off but I am relying mostly on the internet, ie google, wiki, etc. Here's what I found out, feel free to make any corrections.

    30.2 billion barrels per year

    42 gallons * (1 cubic meter / 264.172 gallons) = .15898 cubic meters / barrel
    .15808 cubic meters / barrel * (873 kg /cubic meter) = 138.8 kg / barrel of oil


    mass of Earth = 5.9742 × 10^24 kilograms

    Mass of Barrels per year (kg) = 4.25561 x 10^12


    Today's drills can reach down more than 30,000 feet (9,150 meters).

    Radius of the Earth: radius 6.4*10^6m

    465.11 m/s (equitorial rotational velocity), rad/sec to be determined...

    shifting 30.2 billion barrels / year from 9,150 meters to sea level, what is the change in rotational velocity (even if it's only 1 mm/sec or less per year)?

    This can get tricky as it may be a problem that includes calculations based on the uniformity of the Earth. Perhaps it can be done by calculating to parts seperately, the inner earth and the outer earth, I'm not really certain yet. Any formulas to help me along the way would be helpful and appreciated.
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    Your worry is mild compared to what I know.

    In time, we will have developed great caves underground with oil inside, with oxygen inside also, mixing with that oil, like caves with rivers of oil.

    And ignition of those rivers will create lakes burning with fire.......doorways to "hell" we manufacture, doorways we made possible.

    People who pump this are a part of this creation.

    The worst case scenario is entire oil platforms we live on sinking and exploding, like hell engorging on the filthy.

    My point is, "why design something you don't want to be a part of"?

    Who are the "bright sparks" who make this future a reality?

    I mean, these oil fields are going to turn into the very piston engines of explosions we use the oil for?

    Those bright sparks will find themselves in that hell one day.
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    In time, we will have developed great caves underground with oil inside, with oxygen inside also, mixing with that oil, like caves with rivers of oil.
    Are you referring to the Strategic Oil Reserve? There's no oxygen in there. Any space left by removing oil is filled up with brine. Or perhaps you had something else in mind.
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    Use your imagination, son.

    Brine in a Middle eastern desert.....whoooooo........

    Help me help you, right?

    And even then, joy boy, say something about philosophy.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by theQuestIsNotOver
    Use your imagination, son.
    As far as I know I am not your son.

    Brine in a Middle eastern desert.....whoooooo........
    The middle eastern oil comes from caves? That's interesting news. I always thought it came from porous rock and was forced out by natural gas pressure. Can you pinpoint these caves on a map to help me out here? Also explain how the oxygen gets in. By the way production is maintained in the biggest Saudi field by waterflooding, so brine in the middle eastern desert - yes indeed. Also in the desert of the Alaskan North Slope and elsewhere.

    Help me help you, right?
    Help yourself. Your need is greater.

    And even then, joy boy, say something about philosophy.
    This is not the philosphy forum.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Quote Originally Posted by theQuestIsNotOver
    Use your imagination, son.
    As far as I know I am not your son.

    Brine in a Middle eastern desert.....whoooooo........
    The middle eastern oil comes from caves? That's interesting news. I always thought it came from porous rock and was forced out by natural gas pressure. Can you pinpoint these caves on a map to help me out here? Also explain how the oxygen gets in. By the way production is maintained in the biggest Saudi field by waterflooding, so brine in the middle eastern desert - yes indeed. Also in the desert of the Alaskan North Slope and elsewhere.

    Help me help you, right?
    Help yourself. Your need is greater.

    And even then, joy boy, say something about philosophy.
    This is not the philosphy forum.

    Stop being metaphorical with fish. Otherwise, be the master.
    \\
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by grecinos2
    Today's drills can reach down more than 30,000 feet (9,150 meters).
    Oil is typically found at much shallower depths than this. Most producing horizons are between 5,000' and 12,000'. Moreover, the oil is often displaced by the water, which has a greater density. When this is not the case surface subsidence may occur, so that creates an oposit etrend in the rotational energy.

    When you factor everything (or most things) in you will find the effect is miniscule. (But it remains an interesting exercise.)
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    While, for all the reasons made by prior posters, humans are having little effect on the total mass of the planet--here's an interesting tidbit: Humans are having a measurable effect on the distribution of mass.

    Due to man-made global warming, melting polar ice is redistributing water mass towards the equator. This will ever so slightly slow the earth's rotation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    While, for all the reasons made by prior posters, humans are having little effect on the total mass of the planet--here's an interesting tidbit: Humans are having a measurable effect on the distribution of mass.

    Due to man-made global warming, melting polar ice is redistributing water mass towards the equator. This will ever so slightly slow the earth's rotation.
    Exactly, the distribution of mass is changing due to humans. Consider a spinning bicycle wheel, if you shift the the weight by putting a small but measurable mass towards the outer edge the wheel will begin to slow down. Come to think about it, it would create a small but measurable wobble too.
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