# Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of tomorrow forming today?

1. Jun 11, 2009

### Spinnor

Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of tomorrow, as in many many years from now, forming today?

2. Jun 12, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

I looked around on the internet and found nothing very definative on the formation of oil. The prevailing theory places most of the orininal deposits or organic matter from 2.6 to 630 million years ago.

Seeing as geologists have found almost all of them, and the bulk in the accessible parts has been mined to near deplition, it's not likely natural production in this current era would keep up with demand. To put it simply, it's been mined-out to near deplition.

The very same occured with gold in old word Europe. When the Americas were discoved by the Europeans they went bananas over the unmined deposits.

However, this is not the end of your question, by any means. Contending theories of crude oil generation exist, and there are some interesting reports of a bacterium found in the north east of North America that could be produce something that serves as oil. It's been qualified as something like jungle rot.

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3. Jun 12, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

The bottom of the sea and peat bogs.

http://www.hk-phy.org/energy/power/source_phy/flash/formation_e.html" [Broken]that describes the processes.

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4. Jun 12, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

I don't think I buy the simple animation's story about plankton. What would kill the plankton without consuming it? Life in the sea is pretty efficient in gleaning any source of nutrition. The bulk remainder, that made it to bottom, should consist of redigested excrement mixed with the indigestible shells of diatoms.

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5. Jun 12, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Plankton are defined by their ecological niche, not taxonomically. They consist of many types of plants and animals, are born, live, and die of natural causes. There is no shortage of dead plankton littering the sea floor.

6. Jun 12, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Source?

7. Jun 12, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Are you serious?

http://environmentalresearchweb.org/cws/article/yournews/39079" [Broken]

http://www.teara.govt.nz/EarthSeaAndSky/OceanStudyAndConservation/SeaFloorGeology/6/en" [Broken]

Google it yourself, every source agrees that plankton litters the sea floor, especially in dead zones.

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8. Jun 12, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Certainly I'm serious. What key words did you use?

It is a fair question to ask about the origin of sea floor deposits that could one day become oil. I ask, what is the origin of these biogenic materisls broken down by percentage? I'm obviously on the wrong track with the keywords. No sources have graced me with this information.

I see nice pictures of the shells of diatoms as evidence of silcon deposits --not of organic deposits. What's in the shells; where they alive when they hit the bottom? Where are the numbers that make this more than a field trip, but science?

I have references declaring 'dead plankton' on the sea floor all over the internet, but no information as to how this deduction is obtained. For all I know they are only looking at diatom shells and jumping to conclusions.

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9. Jun 12, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

I see that 'dead zones' are regions of explosive algae or plankton life.

10. Jun 12, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Diatoms are organic, the shells are silicon but the shells are not the source material for what will someday become oil. It is not so much the composition of the organisms that sink to the sea floor, as it is the oxygen levels in the mud and surrounding ocean area that determines the geologic fate of these microscopic corpses.

Here is a good primer.
"[URL [Broken]
What is oil?[/URL]

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11. Jun 13, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

You've made a point of this twice. You should know that most on this forum will know that silicon is not carbon.

I understand the prevailing theory. I find it dubious for the above stated reasons.

12. Jun 13, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Because silicon is not carbon???

That is not a very good reason. Especially since it is not the shell that becomes kerogen.

http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/Sciences/EarthScience/Geology/OilandGas/FormationHydrocarbon/HowOilandGas/HowOilandGas.htm" [Broken]

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13. Jun 13, 2009

### LURCH

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Skyhunter,
I think Phrak meant the reasons stated ni the above posts (not in post #11).

Phrak,
If I understand your skeptisism, it is based on the idea that the plankton would be consumed by other organisms. This is addressed by the references to lack of oxygen. Without bacteria, there are no microbes to consume the carbon parts.

14. Jun 13, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

I am not sure what reason he is giving. To simply assume that no scientist has ever sampled the sea floor, simply because Google fails to provide his precise answer is just not a good reason to be skeptical. Sea bed core samples are taken all the time.

http://www.eu-seased.net/frameset_flash.asp?v0=1" [Broken]

He has all the information. What becomes of the organic matter depends on whether it suffers aerobic or anaerobic decay.

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15. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

The source of surface hydrocarbons is an interesting topic. The mechanism must explain why there are massive hydrocarbon deposits in specific locations, such as the Canadian Oil sands or the Middle East formations. As one looks at the data in more detail, it becomes painfully evident that the current theory is not correct.

One basic problem for the current theory is how does one create long change oil molecules from kerogan. I found a interesting set of papers published by the American Petroleum Institute API that outlines and discussed a whole set of observational anomalies that cannot be explained by the current theory. The solution to the formation problem (The required reaction to change kerogen to oil does not take place at the temperature and pressure that oil is found at.) was to state the word "time" with an explanation mark. As rocks do not roll up hill and waiting a few or many years does not change gravity or the direction chemical reactions take place. Time does not fix the fundamental problem with the biological source mechanism (how does one covert and concentrate kerogen to form oil).

This long titled paper is interesting. The authors assert that chemical thermal dynamic analysis can be used to determine whether a reaction will or will not occur, at a specific temperature and pressure. They assert that using chemical thermal dynamic analysis, that it can be shown that long chain carbon molecules will not spontaneously be formed, except at great pressures (at depths greater than 100 km). Then they preform an experiment that produces long chain hydrocarbons using a diamond anvil that can recreate the pressure at great depths.

The following are excerpts from this paper.

The evolution of multi-component systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen–carbon system: The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum, By Kenney, Kutcherov, Bendeliani, and Alekseev

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/99/17/10976

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16. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

The theory that the planet's hydrocarbons including oil and natural gas comes from deep earth sources (core), is not new. The Soviets (Russia and the old Soviet empire countries) have found significant oil and natural gas deposits using that deep earth hypothesis.)

This a letter from a Soviet scientist objecting to the statement that the deep earth source for hydrocarbon theory is Thomas Gold's theory. As the Soviet points out there are over a 1000 Soviet science papers on the formation of oil and natural gas that support abiogenic theory.

Answer 1. [to the question: “Are there key Soviet papers and Soviet ideas Prof. Gold fails to cite ?] by Vladilen A. Krayushkin,

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17. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

As I noted it is difficult for a biological source mechanism to explain orders of magnitude concentration of oil and gas at specific locations on the planet.

The deep earth hypothesis can explain why Saudi Arabia has 25% of the planet’s oil reserves half of which is contained in only eight fields. Half of Saudi Arabia production comes from a single field the Ghawar.

Excerpt from this wikipedia article on Oil Reserves

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves

The following is an excerpt from Thomas Gold’s book the Deep Hot Biosphere which that outlines some of the observations he believes supports an abiogenic origin (non-biological, primeval origin), for petroleum and natural gas.

18. Jun 14, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

The abiogenic theories of petroleum production has been found lacking.

http://static.scribd.com/docs/j79lhbgbjbqrb.pdf"

I enjoy speculating and pondering alternative theories as much as the next guy, but I try and keep my conjectures in the right context. Both abiogenic theories have been soundly debunked.

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19. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

The Fisher-Tropsch process is an industrial process that is used to hydrogenate hydrocarbon at a temperature of 150-300C in the presence of catalysts that adds hydrogen to create a long chain hydrocarbons. The Fisher-Tropsch process is a complex reaction that must be tightly controlled. The hydrocarbon will break down at those high temperature.

Paradox 1 - How does one convert Kerogen to Light Crude Oil? No answer.
It is a fact that Kerogen is chemically very different than liquid crude oil. No one has shown hydrogenation can take place at 100C in a natural setting rather than in industrial refinery.

The question how does kerogen which is chemically very different than crude get converted to crude oil however is one of a very long list of fundamental problems, paradoxes with the biologic source mechanism.

Any one of the fundamental problems with the biological source invalidate the theory.

2) Paradox 2 - Order of Magnitude Concentration of Liquid Hydrocarbon in specific locations.

The fact that 25% of the world's oil is found in one small country Saudi Arabia, half of which is contained in eight fields.

Think of the massive Saudi Oil fields. The light crude oil that is coming up from the ground has the consistency of light motor oil. It is under pressure it moves directly in 42" pipes to tanker ships. The same massive Saudi oil field Gawar field has been pumping for 25 years.

Ignoring paradox 1 (there is no physical means to convert Kerogen to light crude oil) there is no solution to paradox 2:

Paradox 2: How does one explain massive concentrations of crude oil along the fault lines such as along the continental crust margins or at the interception of plate boundaries? No answer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer-Tropsch

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20. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

More on the Biological is Source of Crude Oil: Paradox 2 - Mass Balance Issue - This is also known as the migration problem. As there is no source rock that has kerogen in it in vicinity of the oil fields There is not interconnecting paths to allow the concentration of oil in sediments. What forms when kerogen is compressed is dark shale, not massive concentrations of light oil.

There is other evidence which appears to challenge the organic theory of oil formation. In a marine environment the biological plant material gets processed by different life forms as it falls to the ocean floor or on the ocean floor. Large amounts of plants therefore do not get deposited on the ocean floor. Hence, there is a relatively small amount of plant biological material deposited in the ocean sediments. It has a surprise then when massive petroleum fields where found on the continental margins.

The issue is even if plant material could be converted to light crude hydrocarbons, which is challenged by the proponents of the abiogenic theory, there are very large oil and gas fields which cannot be explained in terms of mass balance of ancient plant sediments.

For example the following notes the lack kerogen in sediments, however, as the next article notes a single area in the Gulf has appears to have an estimated 1000 billion barrels of oil.

Some Mass Balance and Geological Constraints on Migration Mechanisms by R.Jones.

http://search.datapages.com/data/doi/10.1306/2F91977E-16CE-11D7-8645000102C1865D [Broken]

http://www.geotimes.org/june03/NN_gulf.html

Petroleum geology
Raining hydrocarbons in the Gulf, Geotimes June, 2003

Quote:

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21. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Skyhunter, This is a good start if you are interested in how the planet's oceans formed, what is the reason for the long term changes in the Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and in addition, what is the source of crude oil on the planet's surface.

http://trilogynet.net/Thomas_Gold/usgs.html [Broken]

"The Origin of Methane (and Oil) in the Crust of the Earth", By Thomas Gold"

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22. Jun 14, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

I find that neither one of those paradox's are particularly relevant. Most oil is discovered based on the biogenic origin theory. The predictive success of the theory alone leads one to conclude oil and natural gas are primarily of organic origins. The reason the Russians abandoned their earlier abiogenic theory was it's lack of predictive success.

Gold's theory also failed to find oil as well. Two wells at great expense resulted in 50 barrels of oil.

The fundamental flaw in Gold's theory is that even if these hydrocarbons formed in the upper mantle, how would they hold together as they migrate upward. The decrease in pressure would not be great enough to hold them together, yet the temperature would be great enough to break them apart.

Gold also fails to eliminate alternative explanations in his zeal to promote his theory. That is simply sloppy science.

 I have seen Gold's work, and do not consider it a good place to start. It is an interesting alternative explanation and I do agree that there are abiogenic hydrocarbons. That said, Gold's theory is fatally flawed since it violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

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23. Jun 14, 2009

### Saul

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

The organic theory of the formation of oil cannot explain why one small country Saudi Arabia has 25% of the reserves of oil on the planet, half of which is in 8 fields, one of which the Ghawar field accounts for half of all Saudi oil production.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghawar_Field

Can you provide an explanation for Paradox 1 Order of Magnitude Concentration of Oil in certain locations on the planet? What is your explanation for the Athabasca Oil Sands?

If anyone is interested in Gold's theory. Read this.

Skyhunter, scientific discussion addresses the points raised by the author. Gold presents dozens of fundamental observations all of which support the deep earth source for the planet's hydrocarbons.

http://trilogynet.net/Thomas_Gold/usgs.html [Broken]

I provided a paper that shows both theoretically and experimentally that liquid oil (long chain hydrocarbon molecules) forms at high high pressure from Methane (CH4) which there are massive deposits at very great depths through out the planet.

Energy is required to convert Kerogen to oil. There is not sufficient energy and the reaction does not occur at 100C at the pressures where crude oil is found. Crude Oil is formed at great depths in the planet and then migrates through the mantel picking up heavy metals. Vast oil field (Southern Saskatchewan for example show similar amounts of heavy metals in the oil which shows that the oil migrated from the same source at great depths in the mantel.

The fact that diamonds require 40,000 atmospheres to form (150 km) depth at least to create a diamond shows there is massive hydrocarbons at great depths in the planet.

Thomas Gold found crude oil in granite, a non-sedimentary rock. There are naturally occurring natural gas leaks in the granite through region where he looked for crude oil.

Gold's theory is that hydrocarbons gradually were released from the earth forming the oceans and hydrocarbon deposits on the planet's surface. The alternative theory which you are advocating is the late veneer theory which has special comets (special because current comets do not match the atmosphere which indicates the atmosphere formed by a filtering mechanism) depositing the earth's atmosphere and the hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbons are concentrated by a factor of 200 in the outer crust. The mantel is very dry and does not have hydrocarbons in it. The moon formed by a Mars size impact that removed all volatile element from the mantel. The lighter elements were protected in the core. Experimental and theoretical evidence indicates that light elements will form vast molecules at the very high pressures that are found in the core. As the core cooled the light elements are released and extruded to the surface, hence forming the oceans (Methane CH4 breaks down in the atmosphere and bonds with free oxygen.)

There is evidence that the oceans increased with volume with time.

The evolution of multi-component systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen–carbon system: The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum, By Kenney, Kutcherov, Bendeliani, and Alekseev

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/99/17/10976

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24. Jun 15, 2009

### Skyhunter

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

Yes it does.

Yes.

And all are explained with fewer assumptions and without violating fundamental laws of physics.

How would such reactions take place in the oxidated state of the upper mantle?

Since crude oil has never been detected in the mantle, and is found in sedimentary rock where it has migrated from source rock, both upwards and downwards, the heavy metals are at best coincidental.

How massive?
It is known that methane is found in the mantle, but methane is the simplest and lightest of the hydrocarbons. Diamonds are not evidence of crude oil in the Earth's mantle.

He drilled in a meteoric impact crater where the granite crust was shattered 40 kilometers deep. The surrounding sedimentary rock as well as sedimentary rock that was eroded away by glaciers was also oil bearing. He was looking for methane and all he found was a few dubious barrels of oil. Hardly vindication of is theory.

The wells he drilled yielded 80 barrels of oil. The entire project cost $40 million or$500,000 per barrel. That is if the eighty barrels are more than drilling fluids and diesel fuel.
A different topic for another thread.

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25. Jun 15, 2009

### Phrak

Re: Where on Earth are possible coal and oil of "tomorrow" forming today?

I haven't read the paper. If one extends the accepted theory to include subduction followed by upwelling of carbon compounds, couldn't this explain oil deposits?