Abiotic Oil: A Note from Louis Hissink

“There is a widely held belief that coal and oil are the result of a conversion from organic matter, both vegetable and biotic, that accumulated in sedimentary basins over geological time to become fossil fuels. It is presumed that vast periods of geological time converted the raw buried organic material into petroleum at the base of the sedimentary piles in the earth’s crust. An alternative theory proposes that coal and oil are abiotic in origin and derived from upper mantle processes as suggested by the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic oil, but also popularised by the late Tommy Gold in his controversial book, ‘The Deep Hot Biosphere’.*

In this guest blog post Louis Hissink explains the alternative theory, but begins by explaining how the current consensus came to be …

“Modern geological thinking remains wedded to its uniformitarian paradigm set up during the early nineteenth century when Charles Lyell, a Whig lawyer and amateur geologist, wrote his ‘Principles of Geology’ as a political work to refute the authority of the ruling Tories in England.

Rather than refute his critics facts with evidence, Lyell used his skills as a lawyer to convert his opponents by the art of persuasion, and his ‘Principles of Geology’ the main weapon.

Until then, geology was limited by the constraints of the Christian bible. There was a belief in one original catastrophe, the Noachian flood, which occurred during the recent geological past.

George Grinnell in his paper ‘The Origins of Modern Geological Theory’ describes the political circumstances that prompted the adoption of Lyellian doctrine or uniformitarianism that dominates modern geology thinking to this day.

Lyell’s Principles allowed the clerical geologists of his day to have their cake but also to eat it.

What Lyell did was to shift Biblical creation from its Ussherian date of 4004 BC to some more distant time by interposing an arbitrary period of geological time during which miracles could be invoked to explain geological observations under the principle that anything becomes possible if enough time is allocated. Lyell also dismissed the Old Testament as literature rather than a badly interpreted historical account of the Jewish Peoples and finally banished biblical catastrophism from the nascent science of geology.

When Lyell went to North America he visited the famous Horseshoe Falls (Niagara Falls) and asked a native at what rate the falls were receding. The native American answered that the rate was some 3 -4 feet per year. Lyell, however, assumed that as natives of a country tend to exaggerate their country’s facts then the quoted rate was too high and arbitrarily reduced it to 1 foot per year, subsequently establishing the date of the last ice-age at some 10,000 years past.

Is this relevant to abiotic oil? Yes because it demonstrates how the empirically obvious is changed by persuasive argument. Much of geology relies on the Lyellian system of persuasian and biogenic oil theory is no exception.

The paramount axiom in geology is that the key to the past is the present. Which means that what we observe, and have observed, of natural forces operating on the surface of the planet, in a geological sense, must explain the past. If the key to the past is indeed the present, then somewhere on the surface of the earth there must exist modern day precursors of the ancient coal seams and petroleum deposits — accumulations of vegetable and organic masses in sedimentary basins, pre-fossil deposits as it were — to produce tomorrow’s coal and oil.

It is generally assumed that the Pacific Ocean is of Jurassic age but no widespread accumulations of organic detritus have been found on the seafloor or in its thin sedimentary cover, and equally so for the other seas over the earth. Nor are there any enormous ever increasing accumulations of organic material on the land surfaces comprising dead animals or forests. Of course a minor amount of organic detritus does accumulate in the existing sediments today, but not at sufficient quantities to allow the interpretation that one day in the future oil will be produced from them. How could so much oil be produced from so few organisms?

But it is an irrefutable fact that the earth’s biosphere is continually recycling itself, whether via the plant or animal kingdoms and nowhere are deposits of organic material that could be the future coal and oil deposits forming. If petroleum is truly biotic, then enormous masses of organic material must be accumulating somewhere on the earth’s surface to form future oils. Why don’t we see them? Could the biogenic oil theory be wrong?

In the geological record the past mass extinctions of the biosphere of both plant an animal, are preserved with amazing fidelity in the sedimentary strata except that there are no coal and oil deposits associated with these fossils.

Strange, fossils that are not oil.

Of course coal has abundant plant remnants in it but as Tommy Gold pointed out, if coal is the result of compressing hundreds of meters of vegetation debris, then we certainly should not see undeformed tree trunks passing through the coal seams.

Unfortunately Christian fundamentalists have produced most of the scientific evidence for this, guaranteeing it will not be considered as “scientific” evidence. It is not so much the evidence as the interpretation of that evidence which is problematical.

This is a serious problem for the fossil fuel theory – just how are these enormous deposits of petroleum formed from organic material, given that we are not observing any modern day accumulation of organic material. (That minor plankton debris in sediments is capable of accumulation in the sedimentary basins requires a serious stretch of the imagination to produce the trillions of barrels of oil so far discovered). Does this then mean that it occurred in the geological past but not during the present? This is a violation of the key geological paradigm – that the present can explain the past.

Just how much oil do we have?

According to the US Geological Survey, “the earth currently has more than three trillion barrels of conventional, recoverable oil resources of which 1 trillion has already been produced” according to Mark Nolan, chairman of ExxonMobil addressing the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference in Sydney during September 2006.

Now how much organic material has had to accumulate over geological time to yield these enormous oil reserves. It means living organisms being continuously created on the surface of the earth but then removed from their environment to form deposits of organic matter in ancient sediments where they can be preserved. We do not observe this occurring today so how could we assume that it happened in the past?

Furthermore, surely there must also be ancient deposits of organic material not yet converted to oil in the stratigraphical record too, but no, no such deposits have been discovered. And in any case how are fossils formed in the first place? Again we do not see them forming today. Animals die, decompose and are recycled into the biosphere.

However, in order to form a fossil, all biological processes have to cease to allow preservation. If putrefaction is allowed to proceed, the animal rots and disintegrates back into its environment. The quickest way to form a fossil from a living animal is to take it rapidly away from its normal environment and place it in an alien one so a snake in a tropical rainforest will be rapidly fossilised if quickly placed in the Antarctic.

So how does one accumulate tens of trillions of tonnes of organic matter in sediments without putrefaction or recycling in the biosphere to form the vast deposits that are then transformed into petroleum.

The only reason petroleum is called a fossil fuel is because it contains organic debris but it is quite obvious that if petroleum is abiotic and derived from the mantle, then as an excellent solvent of organic material, up-welling hydrocarbons will naturally incorporate the organic debris found in sedimentary rocks.

Another argument is that no oil has been found in the crystalline basement regions of the earth. Hardly surprising when the majority of petroleum geologists believe in biogenic oil and thus only look for it in sedimentary rocks. They have not found oil in granite simply because they have not drilled granite for oil on the basis of preconceived ideas that it is not possible. Unfortunately for the fossil fuelers petroleum is being found and commercially extracted in fractured granite basement off Vietnam.

According to this website: “ Since its foundation VIETSOVPETRO has drilled over 140 thousand meters of exploration and 800 thousand meters of production wells. As a result of this seven oil fields were discovered, the largest are White Tiger, Dragon and Dai Hung that are already operated by the Joint Venture. White Tiger is so far the largest oil field on the continental shelf of Vietnam. Main reserve of this oil field is concentrated in fractured granite basement that is unique in the world oil and gas production practice”.

Robert O. Russell, a wellsite geologist who drilled into crystalline basement granitic shield rocks for the express purpose of commercial hydrocarbon exploration at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, 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 rocks.

This fact alone indicates that many aspects relating to the origin of petroleum need to be revised.

Thomas Gold, a distinguished proponent of the non-organic theory, has expanded the application of the non-organic theory to all hydrocarbons, including coal.

An international conference on ‘Oil in Granite’ was held recently in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. One of the papers by Kosachev et al. from the Institute of Organic Physics and Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kazan, concluded that much evidence existed in favour of the non-organic theory, and that viable mechanisms for the creation of migration pathways existed.

Recently, C. Warren Hunt, a geologist of the Anhydride Oil Corporation, Calgary, Canada, has proposed a variant of the non-organic theory. Hunt sets forth the notion that up-welling deep non-organic methane is bacterially modified into petroleum at shallow depths.

There is one other difficulty with the fossil-fuel theory, the violation of the second law of thermodynamics. The only hydrocarbon that can be created at the pressures and depths of the sedimentary basins is methane. Yet by the use of vast amounts of geological time, modern geology asserts that somehow vast quantities of organic debris, not observed accumulating anywhere, is converted to high order hydrocarbons by undefined processes. Saudi Crude, for example, which is essentially grease.

In summary, petroleum, or rock-oil, is not derived from the burial of organic debris in sedimentary basins. It is continually produced from the earth’s mantle as described by the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abiotic oil. It is emphatically not a fossil fuel derived from dead dinosaurs and fish and no one has yet been able to generate petroleum (apart from methane) from organic matter at the temperatures and pressures at the base of sedimentary basins.

————————–
* A full account of the Abiotic oil theory is presented at http://www.gasresources.net. C. Warren-Hunt has offered another origin for petroleum at http://www.polarpublishing.com/ .

Thanks Louis.

138 Responses to Abiotic Oil: A Note from Louis Hissink

  1. Luke November 5, 2006 at 10:47 am #

    Geologists seem to have had an awful lot of success looking for oil in place where it shouldn’t be.

    Geologists trace the source of the carbon in hydrocarbons through analysis of its isotopic balance. Natural carbon is nearly all isotope 12, with 1.11 percent being isotope 13. Organic material, however, usually contains less C-13, because photosynthesis in plants preferentially selects C-12 over C-13. Oil and natural gas typically show a C-12 to C-13 ratio similar to that of the biological materials from which they are assumed to have originated. The C-12 to C-13 ratio is a generally observed property of petroleum and is predicted by the biotic theory; it is not merely an occasional aberration.

    In addition, oil typically contains biomarkers – porphyrins, isoprenoids, pristane, phytane, cholestane, terpines, and clorins – which are related to biochemicals such as chlorophyll and hemoglobin. The chemical fingerprint of oil assumed to have been formed from, for example, algae is different from that of oil formed from plankton. Thus geochemists can (and routinely do) use biomarkers to trace oil samples to specific source rocks.

  2. detribe November 5, 2006 at 10:52 am #

    Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it The Abiotic Hypothesis?

  3. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 11:01 am #

    David,

    There is an outstanding reward of US $10,000 for anyone who show experimentally that petroleum can be spontaneously formed from burying organic matter at the depths of the sedientary basins By Gas Resources Corporation. No takers so far.

    But it would to more accurate to call it Abiotic Hypothesis since the Abiotic hypothesis has been proven experimentally while the Biotic not.

    I have previously requested readers of this blog to come up with experimental data proving their hypothesis that petroleum is biotic. To date total failure.

    As for the biomarkers argument Luke, upwelling hydrocarbons from the mantle invading sediments will obviously have biomarkers in them. It’s the anomalous iridium and related elements in oil that fossil fuelers have difficulty with.

    I suggest a thorough reading of the scientific data at http://gasresources.net to familiarise oneself with the facts.

  4. Luke November 5, 2006 at 11:24 am #

    Now Louis – you expect us to have a serious debate on your subject of interest when all you give us on AGW is bolsh, nonsense, ram-raids, and stick-ups. Anyway .. ..

    Your response ignores the carbon isotopic ratio issue and the use of those isotopes in prospectivity.

    Abiotic theorists hypothesize that oil picks up its chemical biomarkers through contamination from bacteria living deep in the Earth’s crust (Gold’s “deep, hot biosphere”) or from other buried bio-remnants. However, the observed correspondences between biomarkers and source materials are not haphazard, but instead systematic and predictable on the basis of the biotic theory. For example, biomarkers in source rock can be linked with the depositional environment; that is, source rocks with biomarkers characteristic of land plants are found only in terrestrial and shallow marine sediments, while petroleum biomarkers associated with marine organisms are found only in marine sediments.

    “spontaneously formed from burying organic matter at the depths of the sedientary basins ” – that’s why you have had no bets !

  5. Jennifer November 5, 2006 at 11:47 am #

    Luke,
    I asked that Louis write something for us on this topic. So please don’t try and shut down debate … on the basis you don’t like Louis.
    You seem to have a problem with separating ‘evidence’ from ‘personal prejudice’.

  6. Luke November 5, 2006 at 12:49 pm #

    “You seem to have a problem with separating ‘evidence’ from ‘personal prejudice’.”

    Jen that’s utterly rich coming from you.

    I love Louis – he’s one of my blog favs ! You’re confusing Louis with Rog. And I’m responding most informatively and am debating with facts.

  7. Helen Mahar November 5, 2006 at 1:10 pm #

    Within 40 km of where I live is a remote granite outcrop which, according to older residents had a very small oil seepage from an above ground fracture. It was wondered about, because oil is supposed to be found in sedimentary rocks, not in granite. I will be talking to the current owner of that property tomorrow, and will ask him what (if) he knows about it.

  8. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 2:38 pm #

    Luke,

    Experimentally all one has to do is recreate the Pressure and Temperature at the bottom of the sedimentary pile and test the hypothesis.

  9. Louis HIssink November 5, 2006 at 2:52 pm #

    Luke,

    clearly you have not read much at all of this post. In it you would have realised that the organic debris found in oil comes from the debris in the sediments that the oil invades, not from some deep seated biosphere that Gold has suggested.

  10. detribe November 5, 2006 at 2:59 pm #

    Louis

    As you know the geological record has evidence for massive systematic burial of biotic carbon (of the order of 0.3% of total matter I recall in sediments over the last 3 billion years.(My souces are Ecology II text by Colinvaux and Knoll’s recent Life on a Young Planet Also more recent biological findings in the primary literature are of lithotophic microrganisms growing at great depths (~ kilometers). Can these two empirical finding be excluded as the source of oil deposits? Why to we have to assume the oil is generated from methane? Cells growing on mineral deposits or deep sorces of hydrogen with access to CO2 would synthesis comopounds like hopanoids that could accumulate

  11. detribe November 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm #

    Examples of recent work relating to deep rock microbes: just scratching the surface (pun intended)
    Astrobiology. 2002 Spring;2(1):83-92.Click here to read
    Hydrogen in rocks: an energy source for deep microbial communities.

    * Freund F,
    * Dickinson JT,
    * Cash M.

    SETI Institute and Department of Physics, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, USA. ffreund@mail.arc.nasa.gov

    To survive in deep subsurface environments, lithotrophic microbial communities require a sustainable energy source such as hydrogen. Though H2 can be produced when water reacts with fresh mineral surfaces and oxidizes ferrous iron, this reaction is unreliable since it depends upon the exposure of fresh rock surfaces via the episodic opening of cracks and fissures. A more reliable and potentially more voluminous H2 source exists in nominally anhydrous minerals of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Our experimental results indicate that H2 molecules can be derived from small amounts of H2O dissolved in minerals in the form of hydroxyl, OH- or O3Si-OH, whenever such minerals crystallized in an H2O-laden environment. Two types of experiments were conducted. Single crystal fracture experiments indicated that hydroxyl pairs undergo an in situ redox conversion to H2 molecules plus peroxy links, O3Si/OO\SiO3. While the peroxy links become part of the mineral structure, the H2 molecules diffused out of the freshly fractured mineral surfaces. If such a mechanism occurred in natural settings, the entire rock column would become a volume source of H2. Crushing experiments to facilitate the outdiffusion of H2 were conducted with common crustal igneous rocks such as granite, andesite, and labradorite. At least 70 nmol of H2/g diffused out of coarsely crushed andesite, equivalent at standard pressure and temperature to 5,000 cm3 of H2/m3 of rock. In the water-saturated, biologically relevant upper portion of the rock column, the diffusion of H2 out of the minerals will be buffered by H2 saturation of the intergranular water film.

    Met Ions Biol Syst. 2005;43:9-48. Links
    Biogeochemistry of dihydrogen (H2).

    * Hoehler TM.

    Exobiology Branch, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA. tori.m.hoehler@nasa.gov

    Hydrogen has had an important and evolving role in Earth’s geo- and biogeochemistry, from prebiotic to modern times. On the earliest Earth, abiotic sources of H2 were likely stronger than in the present. Volcanic out-gassing and hydrothermal circulation probably occurred at several times the modern rate, due to presumably higher heat flux. The H2 component of volcanic emissions was likely buffered close to the modern value by an approximately constant mantle oxidation state since 3.9 billion years ago, and may have been higher before that, if the early mantle was more reducing. The predominantly ultramafic character of the early, undifferentiated crust could have led to increased serpentinization and release of H2 by hydrothermal circulation, as in modern ultramafic-hosted vents. At the same time, the reactive atmospheric sink for H2 was likely weaker. Collectively, these factors suggest that steady state levels of H2 in the prebiotic atmosphere were 3-4 orders of magnitude higher than at present, and possibly higher still during transient periods following the delivery of Fe and Ni by large impact events. These elevated levels had direct or indirect impacts on the redox state of the atmosphere, the radiation budget, the production of aerosol hazes, and the genesis of biochemical precursor compounds. The early abiotic cycling of H2 helped to establish the environmental and chemical context for the origins of life on Earth. The potential for H2 to serve as a source of energy and reducing power, and to afford a means of energy storage by the establishment of proton gradients, could have afforded it a highly utilitarian role in the earliest metabolic chemistry. Some origin of life theories suggest the involvement of H2 in the first energy-generating metabolism, and the widespread and deeply-branching nature of H2-utilization in the modern tree of life suggests that it was at least a very early biochemical innovation. The abiotic production of H2 via several mechanisms of water-rock interaction could have supported an early chemosynthetic biosphere. Such processes offer the continued potential for a deep, rock-hosted biosphere on Earth or other bodies in the solar system. The continued evolution of metabolic and community-level versatility among microbes led to an expanded ability to completely exploit the energy available in complex organic matter. Under the anoxic conditions that prevailed on the early Earth, this was accomplished through the linked and sequential action of several metabolic classes of organisms. By transporting electrons between cells, H2 provides a means of linking the activities of these organisms into a highly functional and interactive network. At the same time, H2 concentrations exert a powerful thermodynamic control on many aspects of metabolism and biogeochemical function in these systems. Anaerobic communities based on the consumption of organic matter continue to play an important role in global biogeochemistry even into the present day. As the principal arbiters of chemistry in most aquatic sediments and animal digestive systems, these microbes affect the redox and trace-gas chemistry of our oceans and atmosphere, and constitute the ultimate biological filter on material passing into the rock record. It is in such communities that the significance of H2 in mediating biogeochemical function is most strongly expressed. The advent of phototrophic metabolism added another layer of complexity to microbial communities, and to the role of H2 therein. Anoxygenic and oxygenic phototrophs retained and expanded on the utilization of H2 in metabolic processes. Both groups produce and consume H2 through a variety of mechanisms. In the natural world, phototrophic organisms are often closely juxtaposed with a variety of other metabolic types, through the formation of biofilms and microbial mats. In the few examples studied, phototrophs contribute an often swamping term to the H2 economy of these communities, with important implications for their overall function-including regulation of the redox state of gaseous products, and direct release of large quantities of H2 to the environment. As one of the dominant sources of biological productivity for as much as 2 billion years of Earth’s history, these communities have been among the most important agents of long-term global biogeochemical change. On the modern Earth, H2 is present at only trace levels in the atmosphere and oceans. Nonetheless, its function as an arbiter of microbial interactions and chemistry ensures an important role in biogeochemical cycling. The significance of H2 in a global sense may soon increase, as the search for alternative fuels casts attention on the clean-energy potential of hydrogen fuel cells. Already, H2 utilization plays an important role in all three phylogenetic domains of life. Humans may soon add an important new term to this economy. Considerable research is focused on the H2-producing capacities of phototrophic and other microorganisms as potential contributors in this regard. Regardless of source, the large scale utilization of H2 as an energy source could carry important consequences for biogeochemistry.

  12. detribe November 5, 2006 at 3:17 pm #

    Ps This is the kind of study that Im referring too.

    In shorts rocks -> hydrogen-> microbial life—?> ? OIL

    Exploration of deep intraterrestrial microbial life: current perspectives. Pedersen K.

    Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology Section, Goteborg University, P.O. Box 462, SE-405 30, Goteborg, Sweden. pedersen–AT–gmm.gu.se

    Intraterrestrial life has been found at depths of several thousand metres in deep sub-sea floor sediments and in the basement crust beneath the sediments. It has also been found at up to 2800-m depth in continental sedimentary rocks, 5300-m depth in igneous rock aquifers and in fluid inclusions in ancient salt deposits from salt mines. The biomass of these intraterrestrial organisms may be equal to the total weight of all marine and terrestrial plants. The intraterrestrial microbes generally seem to be active at very low but significant rates and several investigations indicate chemolithoautotrophs to form a chemosynthetic base. Hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide gases are continuously generated in the interior of our planet and probably constitute sustainable sources of carbon and energy for deep intraterrestrial biosphere ecosystems. Several prospective research areas are foreseen to focus on the importance of microbial communities for metabolic processes such as anaerobic utilisation of hydrocarbons and anaerobic methane oxidation.
    FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Apr 1;185(1):9-16.

  13. detribe November 5, 2006 at 3:33 pm #

    This is the last one I promise Louis, but I couldnt resist the SLIMEs:
    Hydrogen-driven subsurface lithoautotrophic microbial ecosystems (SLiMEs): do they exist and why should we care? Trends Microbiol. 2005 Sep;13(9):405-10.Nealson KH,Inagaki F,Takai K.

    One of the keys to success of many anaerobic ecosystems is the process of syntrophic intercellular hydrogen transfer. This process facilitates the overall reaction by end-product removal, taking advantage of a wide variety of organisms that are able to use hydrogen directly as an energy source by uptake hydrogenases. Thus, the issue is not whether there are hydrogen-driven processes or communities but whether there are hydrogen-driven communities that exist and persist independently of the products of photosynthesis (so-called subsurface lithoautotrophic microbial ecosystems, or SLiMEs). It is the proof of long-term independence from photosynthesis and its products that is the most difficult issue to establish, and perhaps the most important one with regard to searching for SLiMEs both on and off our planet. Although the evidence is not yet unequivocal, a growing body of evidence supports the existence of SLiME-like communities: if they exist, the implications are immense with regard to understanding subsurface environments on Earth, looking for present day analogs of early Earth and the search for life in other worlds.

  14. Luke November 5, 2006 at 3:44 pm #

    I’m just asking why oil’s carbon signature is biotic?

  15. Trev November 5, 2006 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi Louis,

    Really interesting post, would like to know more…shall follow some of the links. Just got a couple of questions you may be able to answer for me…

    On the lack of organic matter on the floor of the Pacific, I was aware that carbonates dissolved at around 4500m due to lower pH at that depth…what happens to “organics” at that depth?…and for that matter what is the pH at around 4.5km depth anyway? ….I was also of the understanding that allothonous material didn’t accumulate to any great thickness on the ocean floor due to subduction/recycling of oceanic crust?

    Finally, the whole uniformatarianism – present key to past thingy surely has to be taken with a little caution….Clearly, throughout the plant’s history, the processes responsible for contemporary geology and geomorphology have operated on vastly different magnitudes. Things have happened in the past that we do not have any contemporary analogues eg Contintental plate formation..massive basaltic volcanism (Siberian Traps)many glaciations….I’m sure there are other examples….

    Cheers,

    Trev

  16. Jennifer November 5, 2006 at 5:08 pm #

    Louis, I’ve emailed you a couple of times today but the emails appear to have bounced.

    Louis and others, I’ve read about an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana that was producing 15,000 barrels of oil per day in the 1970s, then dropped to 4,000 in the 1980s and back to 15,000 in the 1990s. The increase in the 1990s was put down to the new oil coming from a deeper and previously unknown source. In the first instance I’m interested in information confirming and/or refutting that this infact occurred at the one oil rig.

  17. Boxer November 5, 2006 at 5:14 pm #

    Louis

    I’m not a geologist’s thumbprint, but why should there be oil and coal in the process of forming now from biotic sources, just because it is hypothesised to have done so in the past? Couldn’t the biosphere now be much less productive than it was in the past?

    If this is a possibility, then perhaps our contemporary peat beds are puny and insignificant compared to the beds that formed in the past, but peat beds may be tomorrow’s coal (albeit in tiny amounts).

    Over geological history, have there been periods of faster erosion and deposition than we observe in modern times? Thinking of Australia, we seem to have exchanged kilometres-thick layers of terrestrial rock for a continental shelf, so to the layman it would seem that the modern day is a period of relatively slow erosion. So is there much scope in the present to bury thick layers of peat beneath very thick layers of sedimentary material? There simply isn’t enough rapid deposition taking place, and there aren’t many thick peat beds to bury. Perhaps?

    One more silly question – flash pyrolysis of organic matter (the vapourising of organic matter at high temperatures and pressures in the absence of oxygen) is a common enough process that produces pyrolysis oil. This oil can be refined in a manner analogous to the refining of petroleum oil. Is this oil perhaps equivalent to petroleum oil which was formed at high temperatures and pressures in the absence of oxygen beneath overlying sediments? Perhaps no one has claimed the $10,000 because it would cost two orders of magnitude more in legal fees to wrestle the money away from Gas Resources Corporation? Oops, that’s two questions.

  18. Luke November 5, 2006 at 5:53 pm #

    Jen – your question.

    http://www.rense.com/general58/biot.htm

  19. Louis HIssink November 5, 2006 at 6:42 pm #

    Jen

    I have migrated my email to Bigpond premium mail and there are, as it is said in some circles, a few “issues”: Bigpond engineers are working on it. Hence the bouncing. My test emails to one or two accounts were also bouncing so I can appreciate the problem. I am using Telstra’s Microsoft Exchange Server so life has become slightly complex.

    As for the oil well off the Louisiana Coast mentioned by you above – indeed it would be nice to get some further details on that. William Corliss in his website would have collated such data (http://www.science-frontiers.com/) and a search of the online issues might yield interesting results.

    Luke,

    you have missed the point – if petroleum generation from organic matter is a geological process, then it must be happening now. So where are the everthickening sedimentary basins found on the earth’s surface?

    As for erosion you mention re Australia, I would suggest that these geological models are wrong – simple Lyellian armchair waffle. The NCGT site (http://www.ncgt.org” has excellent papers by Ollier in the back issues pointing to a serious lack of “eroded” sediment on the continental shelves.

    I add a new point here in that a recent seismic analysis of the Atlantic Mid-Oceanic Ridge shows it to be a typical Rift valley with thick sediments in the ridge valley itself, and not a ridge of spreading! This will be published in the next NCGT newsletter I am told.

    Secondly organic material does not accumulate – it gets recycled continually in the biosphere.

    Thirdly vegetation does not sink it floats on water until it becomes water logged and it also decomposes too.

    Thirdly the distinction has to be made between spontaneous generation of petroleum from organic matter by burial compared to driven production of such hydrocarbon such as the Fischer Tropsche method. Flash pyrolysis has to be shown working in the crust.

    The reason no one has taken up the rewaard is for the simple reason of thermodynamics, 2nd law of, which you cannot beat no matter much you try.

    To form heavy hydrocarbons one needs pressures and temperatures in the diamond stability feed, as Kenney and the Russians show.

    And the other problem is sheer volume of organic material to produce the known oil resources. Just how much organic life has to be permanently removed from the Biosphere to form the feedstock for this “oil-producing” process deep down there?

    The whole issue of BOOP oil was based on a logical fallacy – if my cat has 4 legs and so also my dog, then my cat is a dog.

    Petroleum is an excellent organic solvent. Oil dissolves biological detritus. Biological detritus in oil means it must have produced the oil.

  20. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 6:48 pm #

    Luke

    Your Rense link is simply the opinion of a committed global warmer.

    He interprets past accumulations of plankton due to previous global warming periods in the geological past but does not show how such plankton are actually preserved. Assumption, assumption, assumption.

    How Lyellian!

  21. Luke November 5, 2006 at 6:57 pm #

    Utterly utterly unconvinced Louis. Global warmer – jeez give me a break.

    So why are is the isotopic ratio organic in origin ?

    And I find it strange how lucky petroleum geologists have been looking in all the wrong place.

    And strange how one played in coal mine mullock heaps as a child which were full of plant fossils?

  22. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 7:10 pm #

    Luke,

    I am not trying to convince by argument of the efficacy of a particular theory, the Lyellian way.

    If oil is an organic solvent, then it contains organic carbon and your point irrelevant.

    If you had read the article above you will now find that they are drilling into granitic basement and finding oil.

    In the case of coal, you have clearly not familiarised yourself with Gold’s ideas, or the ”
    replacement of peat by hydrocarbons”.

    Example – in the the US coal fields one famous coal bed had peat (or brown coal) at the near surface but that at depth turned into bituminous coals.

    So of course coal has plant fossils in it!

    If you are going to take me on son, at least show some understanding of the facts.

  23. abc November 5, 2006 at 7:12 pm #

    Ah Luke – for ever pissing into the wind – turn the other way you wont get wet….

  24. Luke November 5, 2006 at 7:18 pm #

    But I am interested in hearing the arguments, but you have to realise Louis that the net is full of what seem to be reasonable counter arguments. You’ll convince me if you debunk the biogenic case in a scholarly manner.

  25. Trev November 5, 2006 at 7:23 pm #

    Louis,

    A few posts up you write

    ” if petroleum generation from organic matter is a geological process, then it must be happening now. So where are the everthickening sedimentary basins found on the earth’s surface?”

    Once again Louis, the geological record is populated with evidence of past climates and past landscapes that have no contemporary analogue.

    Continental crust, banded iron formations, permian coal measures, glacial erratics in South Australia are not being formed NOW either…So what!

    Cheers,

    Trev

  26. Luke November 5, 2006 at 7:24 pm #

    Yes yes I’m familiar with all that Louis but as usual you’re trying to get through with bluster. The more you bluster and the less you explain the more I’m convinced you’re a b/s artist which you’ve admirably demonstrated with your knowledge of AGW and basic stats. So how about less of the aggro and more of the info.

    The point is totally relevant so answer the question and stop ducking !

    abc make a contribution or go and xyz yourself.

  27. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 7:34 pm #

    Trev,

    So what? The past has no contemporary analogue – is that due to a misinterpretation of the past, perhaps?

    It reminds me of the carroon where 2 economists are looking at a blackboard on which the scribbled some equations, left a gap, and scribbled a conclusion. The gap was explained by a “The a miracle happened” and so presumption was linked to conclusion by ” a miracle”.

  28. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 7:39 pm #

    Luke,

    accusing me of being a BS artist and bluster is not reasoned response to my points. You do so perhaps because you cannot counter my reasoned replies.

    Info? I supplied that in abundance. Perhaps because you have difficulty understanding it might bias your replies here. That I cannot solve easily but a demonstrated religious-like zeal for AGW suggests that your mind is closed.

  29. Louis HIssink November 5, 2006 at 7:43 pm #

    Luke,

    The BOOP theory has been debunked in a scholarly manner by some 4000 scientific papers published in the Russian Language, as shown by Kenney (http://www.gasresources.net).

    You have not contradicted one point made by Kenney or the Russians.

  30. Luke November 5, 2006 at 7:44 pm #

    Not so – so I have a look around at the White Tiger field issue and I find a reasoned argument at Abiotic Snake Oil:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2005/11/4/15537/8056

    Quotes.. ..

    During the CNBC interview, Smith claimed that Vietnam’s White Tiger and Black Lion fields proved that abiotic oil was a reality and used this argument to support his general claim that worldwide oil depletion is a fiction. More information is available at EIA’s Vietnam Analysis Country Brief. These kinds of claims have been around for the last few years. Back in 2003, Julie Creswell wrote Oil Without End (orignally from Fortune Magazine 02/15/03) and reported
    In the quiet waters off the coast of Vietnam lies an area known as Bach Ho, or White Tiger Field. There, and in the nearby Black Bear and Black Lion fields, exploration companies are drilling more than a mile into solid granite–so-called basement rock–for oil. That’s a puzzle: Oil isn’t supposed to be found in basement rock, which never rose near the surface of the earth where ancient plants grew and dinosaurs walked. Yet oil is there. Last year the White Tiger Field and nearby areas produced 338,000 barrels per day, and they are estimated to hold about 600 million barrels more.
    So, the “mystery” here is that oil is being extracted from porous granite basement rock which has presumably always been deeply buried, not sedimentary (source) rock that was formed by the burial, heating, chemical transformation and compaction of organic matter.

    Looking further, I consulted an article from the American Association of Petroleum Geologist’s (AAPG) Explorer series entitled Vietnam Finds Oil in the Basement to find out what was really going on here. First, these offshore fields are producing.
    Bach Ho (White Tiger), Vietnam’s largest oilfield, produces almost 280,000 barrels of oil per day from granitoid basement.

    Recently, a basement-reservoir play extension in the nearby Su Tu or “lion” fields generated wide industry interest.

    The Su Tu Den (Black Lion) field currently produces about 80,000 barrels per day, but PetroVietnam expects to increase output to 200,000 barrels per day within three years.
    But most importantly, what it the geological context?
    Wallace G. Dow, an AAPG member and consultant in The Woodlands, Texas, calls the Cuu Long oil “paraffinic, classic lacustrine crude” expelled into fractured basement from lower source rock.

    “The oils in the basement are virtually identical to the oils in the sandstone sitting around the basement,” Dow said.

    “This is the key — they migrate updip through faults into the basement, in horst blocks,” he said.

    Dow emphasized that the oil’s components indicate a lacustrine organic facies with lipid-rich, land-plant debris and fresh-water algal material, refuting theories of abiogenic origin in this area.

  31. Luke November 5, 2006 at 7:48 pm #

    Wow – Louis now appeals to the literature and expects it to be read but doesn’t with AGW because it’s all a big fraud?!? Why be selective?

  32. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 7:49 pm #

    Luke

    well done.

    Sedimentary strata usually lie above basement (granites etc).

    Now produce evidence that the basins referred by you are below the granites from which they are getting the oil from.

    Told you before son, understand the facts.

  33. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 7:53 pm #

    Abiotic Snake oil?

    Luke – discussion ends here.

  34. Trev November 5, 2006 at 7:55 pm #

    No Louis we have not misinterpreted the past. Geoscientists are very good at what they do. Do you think the rate of resupply via abiotic means will be sufficient to meet the worlds growing demand for liquid fuels?

  35. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 7:59 pm #

    Trev,

    History shows that when one source of eneryy starts to become depleted, new sources are found.

    The factor missing in your view in human ingenuity and disovery.

    And yes we have misinterpreted the past -what makes you think we haven’t?

  36. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 8:11 pm #

    Just to put a fine point on it – Science, when confronted with overwhelming contractictory fact adjusts.

    The religious don’t. Their views are sacrosanct and final.

    The religious perspective migtt be found in Luke’s and Trev’s posts here.

  37. Trev November 5, 2006 at 8:14 pm #

    Earth’s history also shows us BIFs, Permian coal measures and glacial erratics in South Aussie, all well understood, not happening now – no misinterpretations.

    Can’t wait for the volcanoes to start gushing with the texas tea. When Australia starts pumping a few million barrels per day from our granite basement, I’ll buy you a beer Louis, as it stands we, like many other countries, are on the backside of Hubberts Peak….although things may change! Keep those fingers crossed Louis! Rather than venture capital for a granite oil drilling project my $$ are saved for a bicycle and a few PVs for the roof. That way I can do my bit for AGW as well

  38. Trev November 5, 2006 at 8:16 pm #

    No Louis…doesn’t work mate, no religious stuff from me…just like to weigh up the evidence in a non dogmatic fashion

  39. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 8:20 pm #

    Trev

    Volcanoes gushing texas tea?????

    No wonder the ALP remain in power with voters like you supporting it. (State wide I should add, most Australians are not the stupid).

    Trev,

    before entering the fray make sure you can hack it.

    Please.

    Louis (the Geological Hacker)

  40. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 8:23 pm #

    Chokes on his Jameson Whisky

    weigh up the evidence?

    What, here? or in some other mystical place?

  41. Luke November 5, 2006 at 8:32 pm #

    Louis – there’s no religion at all. Now you play very political hard ball with AGW – everyone is a commo pinky lefty subversive intent on destroying society etc. We get a few gallons of that before we get anywhere near climate.

    So you’re now saying that you only are allowed to be forthright in your views. Couple of contrary questions and out comes the glass jaw.

    Do you want us to be little crawly bums and say – “oh how wonderful – who would have thought”?

  42. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 8:46 pm #

    Luke

    you introduced religion here, I not. The rest of your diatribe, (hardly a reasoned comment) has to be ignored.

  43. Trev November 5, 2006 at 8:52 pm #

    Looking forward to your forthcoming, well researched piece on the benefits of crystal healing and spoon bending….I hear some clever Russian scientists have come up with a new theory. Louis, son, your Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals of Australia is not a geology degree. I suggest you enrol at a uni and complete some studies in geology, learn about proper referencing and about how real scientists do science.

  44. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 8:53 pm #

    detribe’

    your details above are very interesting.

    Posting volumes of quotes suggests you, as luke, have no clue.

  45. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 9:00 pm #

    Trev

    Your blatant ad hom above needs correction.

    I have been awarded 2 science degrees in geology, one a MSC.

    the rest of your post would, on this basis, be dismissed as a lie.

  46. Trev November 5, 2006 at 9:01 pm #

    oink oink flap flap….

  47. Luke November 5, 2006 at 9:07 pm #

    Louis – well put the M. Sc. into 1st gear, spare us the rhetorical b/s, and let’s see a reasoned argument.

    (1) Geologists seem to find oil looking in the wrong places and even predict what sorts of oil they’ll find using the wrong theory?
    (2) The White Tiger granite story doesn’t check out.
    (3) The Eugene Field theory doesn’t check out
    (4) Oil seems to have organic fingerprints all over it from contaminants to basic isotopic composition.

  48. Louis Hissink November 5, 2006 at 9:12 pm #

    Oink, just crapped a Trev.

    Luke:
    (1) what on earth are you on about.
    (2) Despite the production statistics – your data ? none presented.
    (3) Eugene Field – where what ?
    (4) As previously pointed out, upwelling oil from the mantle will absorb every organic bit of detritus. Hence no evidence at all.

    Your court,

  49. Luke November 5, 2006 at 9:19 pm #

    (1) It means they should be finding oil as they’re looking in the wrong spots. And they should not be able to predict it’s composition either.

    (2) Yes the nearby sandstone based fields will be soon have White tiger yields:

    “The oils in the basement are virtually identical to the oils in the sandstone sitting around the basement,” Dow said.

    “This is the key — they migrate updip through faults into the basement, in horst blocks,” he said.

    Dow emphasized that the oil’s components indicate a lacustrine organic facies with lipid-rich, land-plant debris and fresh-water algal material, refuting theories of abiogenic origin in this area.

    (3) Eugene – Jen’s refill question?

    Abiotic theorists often point out evidence of fields refilling. The most-cited example is Eugene Island, the tip of a mostly submerged mountain that lies approximately 80 miles off of the coast of Louisiana.

    (4) Come on – it won’t change the isotopic ratio. And with all the other very specific components involved I find this a most unsatisfactory explanation.

  50. Luke November 5, 2006 at 9:20 pm #

    Erratum: “they should not be finding oil”

  51. detribe November 5, 2006 at 9:54 pm #

    Your right Louis, I don’t have a clue. Thats why I’m asking questions. The posts are to provide evidence of the existence of those deep rock microbes; I’m just asking why they dont/cannot provide explanations of poil genesis
    d

  52. Gavin November 6, 2006 at 6:11 am #

    I don’t believe what I’m seeing here. People are wading way out of their depth.

  53. Luke November 6, 2006 at 7:16 am #

    http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/abstracts/2005research_calgary/abstracts/extended/mello/images/fig02.htm

    The application of high resolution biomarker technologies using GC-MS, GC-MS-MS, Diamondoids, CSIA-B and CSIA-D methods, integrated with detailed geological and paleontology cal characterization, provide scientific evidence that that oils can be attributed to organic-rich sedimentary rocks of specific geological age and depositional environments.

    Oil samples related to sedimentary rocks of a certain depositional environment and geologic age show biomarkers derived from organisms that are known to have derived from biological precursor that evolved by that time (Figs 1 and 2). For example, oils that can be related to late Cretaceous and Tertiary source rocks generally show Oleanane, which derives from triterpane precursors in angiosperms that evolved and radiated in the Cretaceous and Tertiary, and/or they show the highly branched isoprenoid, which is synthesized by diatoms that evolved and radiated in about the same geologic time-span. Clear examples from major oil-producing basins are Venezuela, Nigeria and California (USA).

    Tetracyclic terpanes, such as kaurane, beyerane and phyllocladane occur only in rocks and oils younger than the age of evolution of land plants, i.e., Silurian, because these are biogenic diterpenoid structures that are associated exclusively with hormone (gibberellins) synthesis required by all land plants. Such terrestrially dominated oils that show such compounds can be found widely in China, Southeast Asia, Australia, and in Venezuela. Oil samples that can be tied to early Paleozoic rocks, Cambrian-Devonian often show a unique n-alkane distribution with high odd/even predominance, terminating at n-C19 (Fig.1). This is the biochemical signature that has become identified and attributed to an early Paleozoic alga Gloeocapsamorpha Prisca, and can be found in certain oil habitats in basins of the Central USA, Australia, and Russia. It is also interesting to note that oils derived from marine and lacustrine source rock environments without higher plant influence lack terrestrial plant terpanes and oils derived from terrestrially dominated source rocks lack algally-derived C27 and C30 steranes. Another case, in point, is the presence of β-carotane derived from pigments in halophyllic bacteria that thrive in hypersaline environments, such as the Lagoa Feia source and derived oils of Brazil.

    Another irrefutable proof of the biogenic origin of petroleum is the character of diamondoids in all petroleum liquids. One might expect an ultrastable hydrocarbon “non-biomarker” in oil, such as a diamondoid, to have an abiogenic origin. But, alas, it is not the case and it is proven by carbon isotopic composition. Diamonds are invariably formed from abiogenic carbon and, without argument, are abiogenic. They show carbon isotope ratios around 0 to 5 per mil indicating little, if any isotopic fractionation during their formation. However, the structurally related diamondoids in oil show high levels of isotopic fractionation in the range of -20 to -30 per mil, the same as most true biomarkers, indicating diamondoid derivation from enzymatic ally-created lipids with subsequent structural rearrangement during the process of source rock maturation and oil generation.

  54. Roger Kalla November 6, 2006 at 7:59 am #

    ‘Tetracyclic terpanes, such as kaurane, beyerane and phyllocladane occur only in rocks and oils younger than the age of evolution of land plants’ Luke states in his post. This is true but oil can and is produced by alga i.e an aquatic plant life. According to Encyclopedia Brittanica Oil on ‘Composition, formation, and occurrence of oil shales ‘
    Some oil shale kerogens are composed almost entirely of algal remains, whereas others are a mixture of amorphous organic matter with a variable content of identifiable organic remnants. The main algal types are Botryococcus and Tasmanites.

    Botryococcus species of green algae exists today and have been patented for their carbohydrate production. Up to 70 % of dry weigth of these remarkable algae are complex carbohydrates. These algae are being used for fixing CO2 in bioreactors coupled to the exhaust fumes from coal power plants. Turning coal into biodiesel – and its all natural.

  55. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 8:44 am #

    I think eberyone has totally missed the point here.

    The BOOP theory simply asserts the the simple process of burying oragnic material in sediments in sedimentary basins will under the new pressure and temperatures at those depths produce the whole suite of petroleum molecules.

    SIMPLE BURIAL ie increase P and T. No cataysts are invoked.

    This can be verified in a laboratory.

    To date only methane has been observed.

    Now how does the earth create oil from organic matter from this geological process. Equally how does it accumulate tens of trillions of tonnes of plankton as the feed stock to produce Saudi Crude.

    What geological process is observed to day which is accumulating plankton?

    This is the wholoe problem in geology – the invocation of miracles to explain logical fallacies.

    As mentioned in my initial comment – there are some 400 separate projects where oil is being produced from the crystalline basement.

  56. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 8:48 am #

    Luke,

    interesting abstract but the link you produced just shows a graph.

    As for the case of diamondoids – it should be fair to say that I am a diamond geologist and diamonds being formed from biological origins is a rather intriguing idea.

  57. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 9:22 am #

    The argument is essentially that of oil being derived from the burial of live organic life, ie fossils, or being continually produced below the crust as suggested by the Russians, Tommy Gold and on a slight variation, Warren-Hunt.

    This is the issue.

    As for diamondoids etc – if abiogeni oil invades sediments it will incorporate all the organic debris found in those sediments.

    So of course some diamondoids are biogenic !

  58. Nexus 6 November 6, 2006 at 9:39 am #

    From: Abiogenic origin of hydrocarbons: An historical overview
    Author(s): Glasby GP
    Source: RESOURCE GEOLOGY 56 (1): 83-96 2006

    The two theories of abiogenic formation of hydrocarbons, the Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins and Thomas Gold’s deep gas theory, have been considered in some detail. Whilst the Russian-Ukrainian theory was portrayed as being scientifically rigorous in contrast to the biogenic theory which was thought to be littered with invalid assumptions, this applies only to the formation of the higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper mantle. In most other aspects, in particular the influence of the oxidation state of the mantle on the abundance of methane, this rigour is lacking especially when judged against modern criteria as opposed to the level of understanding in the 1950s to 1980s when this theory was at its peak. Thomas Gold’s theory involves degassing of methane from the mantle and the formation of higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust. However, formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust occurs only as a result of Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds. This theory is therefore invalid. Both theories have been overtaken by the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the modes of formation of hydrocarbon deposits in nature.

    Don’t have access to the whole article unfortunately.

  59. Helen Mahar November 6, 2006 at 9:50 am #

    In reference to my earlier post about a small oil seepage from a granite outcrop: Yes, it is there, two older locals, as well as the current owner of the property have confirmed it.

    (There is plenty of sedimetary material surrounding this outcrop, and a major mining company is finding oodles of noodles in these sediments.)

    What puzzles me, and has puzzled others before me, is how this oil seep could have come up from the uderlying granite, and be under such pressure as to seep out at a higher elevation. Unless it was formed in that outcrop, and is just seeping down from the higher granite?

  60. Luke November 6, 2006 at 11:28 am #

    We still have no answer to the isotopic issue. I find to it very hard to believe abiotic oil theory given the oils’ carbon signature has biological (plant) all over it.

    I need an oil sample from granite with nothing underneath it, uncontaminated, that says inorganic – not plants in origin … do we have such a thing.

    And why do geologists do so well looking in all the wrong places.

    “However, the structurally related diamondoids in oil show high levels of isotopic fractionation in the range of -20 to -30 per mil, the same as most true biomarkers, indicating diamondoid derivation from enzymatically-created lipids with subsequent structural rearrangement during the process of source rock maturation and oil generation. ”

    So is abiotic oil simply a foil to counter Peak Oil ?

  61. Pinxi November 6, 2006 at 2:14 pm #

    yr such a conspiracy theorist Luke. Humanity has never depleted a natural resource (bar 1). Energy sources can change in response to social demands (eg to reduce pollution), not only in response to depletion.

    Peak oil is a ruse to push market prices up to milk the cash cow before that happens. To create exclusivity just like the diamond cartels (can you trust aussie diamond certification louis?). Just as media and communications companies battle to control and throttle content as well as delivery. Similarly, climate change is all a ruse to create scientific confusion as a cover for the tobacco companies to sell more ciggies.

  62. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 8:45 pm #

    Heavens to Murgatroyd

    Biogenic oil theory, or fossil fool theory (pun more than intended) asserts that simple burial of organic detritus in sedimentary basins will produce petroleum.

    Abiotic or variations of, assert that it is continuously being produced at the deep crustal region, whether modified by deep seated bacteria or otherwise.

    It is either a once only geological event (Fossil Fools) or a continuing process the nature of which we are only now coming to grips with.

    Now do we understand the issue?

  63. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 9:28 pm #

    Pinxi

    where on earth did you dredge that up from?

    From: Abiogenic origin of hydrocarbons: An historical overview
    Author(s): Glasby GP
    Source: RESOURCE GEOLOGY 56 (1): 83-96 2006

    The two theories of abiogenic formation of hydrocarbons, the Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins and Thomas Gold’s deep gas theory, have been considered in some detail. Whilst the Russian-Ukrainian theory was portrayed as being scientifically rigorous in contrast to the biogenic theory which was thought to be littered with invalid assumptions, this applies only to the formation of the higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper mantle. In most other aspects, in particular the influence of the oxidation state of the mantle on the abundance of methane, this rigour is lacking especially when judged against modern criteria as opposed to the level of understanding in the 1950s to 1980s when this theory was at its peak. Thomas Gold’s theory involves degassing of methane from the mantle and the formation of higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust.

    However, formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust occurs only as a result of Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds. This theory is therefore invalid. Both theories have been overtaken by the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the modes of formation of hydrocarbon deposits in nature.

    Don’t have access to the whole article unfortunately.

    Truly,

    You lot are literally grasping at straws.

    How about butting out commenting about topics for which you have no expertise.

    You are permitted full permission to comment on, adjudicate and censor any comments fitting the category “Stupidity”.

  64. Nexus 6 November 6, 2006 at 9:45 pm #

    Well rebutted there, Louis. I’m sure you can explain in simple language for us non-experts where Glasby is wrong.

    I like this bit; “However, formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust occurs only as a result of Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds. This theory is therefore invalid.”

    Must be a lot of hydrogen gas getting around down there.

    This statement gets to the root of the problem; “Both theories have been overtaken by the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the modes of formation of hydrocarbon deposits in nature.”

    It would appear you’re just not sophisticated enough, Louis.

  65. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 10:17 pm #

    Nexus_6

    The Fischer-Tropsche Method is used extensively by the oil industry to produce specific products.

    I am not aware that the artificial production of hydrocarbons, via the Fischer Tropsche method, is actually present under the earth’s crust.

    Do the engineers of this process have horns on their skulls?

    You haven’t a clue what you are writing here.

  66. Pinxi November 6, 2006 at 10:29 pm #

    Louis perhaps you can explain which bit of my post you were addressing, ie what was it I dredged up that prompted that cut & paste job?

    Obviously your FUN button has rusted in the OFF position, but I was teasing a bit, teasing Luke a bit as he’s not getting much fun from anyone else. Nothing serious on oil debate.. Have family in the oil game funnily enuff, so won’t be chasing any old dog oil cranks up trees whether or not they fruit diamonds in Spring.

  67. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 10:33 pm #

    Pinxi

    Quoted below:

    From: Abiogenic origin of hydrocarbons: An historical overview
    Author(s): Glasby GP
    Source: RESOURCE GEOLOGY 56 (1): 83-96 2006

    The two theories of abiogenic formation of hydrocarbons, the Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins and Thomas Gold’s deep gas theory, have been considered in some detail. Whilst the Russian-Ukrainian theory was portrayed as being scientifically rigorous in contrast to the biogenic theory which was thought to be littered with invalid assumptions, this applies only to the formation of the higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper mantle. In most other aspects, in particular the influence of the oxidation state of the mantle on the abundance of methane, this rigour is lacking especially when judged against modern criteria as opposed to the level of understanding in the 1950s to 1980s when this theory was at its peak. Thomas Gold’s theory involves degassing of methane from the mantle and the formation of higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust.

    However, formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust occurs only as a result of Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds. This theory is therefore invalid. Both theories have been overtaken by the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the modes of formation of hydrocarbon deposits in nature.

    Don’t have access to the whole article unfortunately.

  68. Luke November 6, 2006 at 10:36 pm #

    Louis – when one writes a guest thread you’re supposed to assist blog-inmates struggling with the topic through the issues – not being bolshy and rough as guts as normal. You’re also supposed to have some follow-up material in reserve to supplement a more advanced discussion not carrying on like a frilled-necked lizard out of ammo.

    Now having cleared that up – why do geologists seem to have luck looking in the wrong spots and even predict what sort of oil they’ll find. And why is the isotopic signature of oil organic. And don’t say “because .. .. ooooooo .. .. it got all contaminated with nasty pre-historic plant matter coming out the hole .. .. ooooo”

  69. Louis Hissink November 6, 2006 at 10:43 pm #

    Pinxi

    The statement “In most other aspects, in particular the influence of the oxidation state of the mantle on the abundance of methane,

    is essentially a non-sequitor.

    ..” this rigour is lacking especially when judged against modern criteria as opposed to the level of understanding in the 1950s to 1980s when this theory was at its peak. Thomas Gold’s theory involves degassing of methane from the mantle and the formation of higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust.”

    The rest of this statement is gobbledygook.

    No one knows what the oxidation state of the mantle is. Heavens sake, I work as a diamond geologist and this is NEWS to me, especially after 35 years in the profession.

    But you and your fellow posters here do come up with controversial points, some valid, but do your homework first – identify the enemy!

    Don’t fire custard tarts at well engineered howitzers – you will always lose.

  70. Pinxi November 7, 2006 at 7:55 am #

    Louis it’s still unclear how your comments or insults to me bear any relation to my post. Despite accusing others of this, you seem to have comprehension problems. All you’ve done is cut & paste the same quote twice, not clarified or answered my question: what does yr comment and insult have to do with my post?

    If it’s a ‘fringe’ theory that’s new to everyone why would you expect the readers to instantly understand it and why be so arrogant and intolerant to questions, esp given it’s taken you over a year to put together the guest post and apparently much of the literature is in Russian?

    I’m surprised that you haven’t tried to explain these ideas further, all you’ve done is insult the commenters who’ve probed the ideas. Wasn’t worth taking the trouble to read all of your post and the comments too.

    You make very strong statements about this oil ‘theory’ yet now you can’t answer the basic questions put to you or justify your attacks! Gives the strong impression that you believe but don’t understand these ideas yourself.

  71. Pinxi November 7, 2006 at 8:11 am #

    Louis you’re fighting a mirror with all your talk of ‘the enemy’. Reread my post and then apologise as that quote is irrelevant and the insults unwarranted.

    Then drop the arrogant tone and respond intelligently to the questions rather than dismiss them. You might gain an ounce of credibility. It’s a relatively unknown theory on which you’re educating the readers, recall?

  72. rog November 7, 2006 at 10:30 am #

    Perhaps now would be a good point in which to revisit luke’s rense article;

    “….There is no way to conclusively prove that no petroleum is of abiotic origin. Science is an ongoing search for truth, and theories are continually being altered or scrapped as new evidence appears…

    …..Perhaps one day there will be general agreement that at least some oil is indeed abiotic. Maybe there are indeed deep methane belts twenty miles below the Earthís surface….”

  73. Davey Gam Esq. November 7, 2006 at 11:23 am #

    Pinxi et al.,
    Seest thou a man that is wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him. Proverbs ch.26,v.12

  74. Luke November 7, 2006 at 11:36 am #

    Siljan produces no Helium 3.

    When a Radical Experiment Goes Bust: A $40-million gas well drilled in Sweden has come up dry, but that doesn’t discourage the maverick American scientist who sold the Swedes on prospecting in a most unlikely place
    Richard A. Kerr
    Science 9 March 1990 247: 1177-1179 [DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4947.1177] (in Articles)

    Says:

    “The Swedish drillers have found an assortment of hydrocarbons that Gold interprets as indicators of gas oozing up, just as he predicted over a decade ago. But that is not what chemical analysis of the hydrocarbons shows, says organic geochemist Isaac Kaplan of Global Geochemistry Corporation in Canoga Park, California, where much of the work was done. “We concluded we were not dealing with a natural situation,” he says, “but with a man-imposed one.” Drillers pump all sorts of things down wells to keep the drilling going smoothly—at Siljan, they even used diesel oil—and Kaplan believes that all Gold is seeing is the diesel oil as well as other hydrocarbons produced by additives that were altered by the frictional heat of the drill bit. Not surprisingly, Gold disagrees with this conclusion.
    Whom to believe? Geochemists would resolve this dispute by determining the isotopic composition of helium in the gases. Crustal rock produces only the isotope helium-4 by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium, whereas mantle gases should carry helium-3, a stable isotope trapped in Earth’s deep interior when the planet formed. Indeed, researchers looked for an enrichment of helium-3 in the gases and found none. Harmon Craig, a geochemist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, found that at least 99.85% of the helium is crustal.
    But Gold is no conventional thinker, and as usual, he has an unconventional riposte. He explains away this apparent disappointment by suggesting that a mixture of gases had already flushed out all the mantle helium that can be removed through existing passageways. With the passageways freed of mantle helium, the remaining gases, including hydrocarbons, continued rising toward the surface.”

  75. Luke November 7, 2006 at 12:52 pm #

    Can you produce oil in the lab ?

    http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/012805_no_free_pt3.shtml

  76. Luke November 7, 2006 at 2:52 pm #

    Nobody talking so I’ll talk to myself – so Louis’s bluster has probably rattled my paradigm enough to have a look around and not insist that “there are definitely no abiotic sources of hydrocarbon in the Earth’s crust/mantle ” but how much – and what’s the practical significance if any?

  77. Boxer November 7, 2006 at 8:23 pm #

    I’m afraid I didn’t learn much here but Louis has convinced me that he doesn’t approve of people who don’t accept abiotic oil. Louis has failed to convince me of abiotic oil, but you never can tell. Science is never right, it’s just increasingly less wrong.

    On the other hand, if you all go to this piece http://ipa.org.au/publications/publisting_detail.asp?pubid=611 on the IPA web site, you will find that government scientists are all a waste of time, money and possibly food, plus they emit CO2 for no good reason. I gather that the theory of abiotic oil arose and/or had its greatest level of support in the Soviet Union, where, by definition, all scientists were government employees. Therefore, abiotic oil must be a myth promulgated by government scientists to increase their funding.

    The matter is now resolved; oil is derived from biological sources.

  78. Louis Hissink November 7, 2006 at 8:56 pm #

    Luke, Pinxi et al,

    NOT ONE of you has answered the fundamental question of how, by compressing organic material to pressures and temperatures assumed to occur at the base of sedimentary basins, petroleum is produced from fossils.

  79. Luke November 7, 2006 at 9:01 pm #

    So if Louis is supporting commies – he must be a double double double counter agent (maybe I’ve doubled one too many) .. .. so so – we’ve been duped. Argh – so Louis is actually a dirty commie sympathiser after all. Boxer – I’m shocked and disgusted. He was pretty convincing as a right wing extremist too.

    Bloody good paper by the IPA too – would help greatly to get rid of all those public health types inquiring into ciggy smoking and climate change. They should all get a proper job digging something up or cutting something down.

  80. Louis Hissink November 7, 2006 at 9:06 pm #

    Luke,

    …………………………
    The ad homs are in the white spaces separating the dots.

  81. Nexus 6 November 7, 2006 at 9:17 pm #

    Louis, why do say the is no current biological material buildup? How do you know there isn’t massive biological build up on the ocean floors from dead zooplankton and algae. Even if there isn’t, why does that mean it can’t of happened in the past? Why do you talk about fossils? Do you actually mean compressed biological material under anoxic conditions? Which bit do you think isn’t correct – the formation of kerogen or petroleum? If you’re convinced another theory is wrong, why does that make your theory right?

    Go on, stop whinging and defend your theory. You’ve convinced absolutely no one. Lucky you not a scientist, really.

  82. Luke November 7, 2006 at 9:18 pm #

    http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/012805_no_free_pt3.shtml

    starts on biogenic oil formation with:

    “Furthermore, the “lack of proof” of the biogenic theory of oil formation is only apparent, not real. It is only an effect of the internet bias that tends to hide the scientific literature produced before the 1980s-1990s. The earliest successful laboratory tests to transform organic matter into oil were carried out in 1913 by the German chemist Engler. The laboratory demonstration of all the steps of the standard biogenic theory was done in a series of studies carried out by the American Petroleum Institute (API) in the 1930s -1940s. These early studies are not easy to find even in academic libraries and many petroleum geologists seem to know these results only as they are presented in later textbooks. However, this is no more an indication of a scientific conspiracy than seeing physicists calculate spacecraft trajectories without having read Newton’s Principia. ”

    goes on into detail.. ..

    http://www.earthscape.org/r3/whelan/whelan13.html

  83. Pinxi November 7, 2006 at 9:20 pm #

    Ok, matter settled. Back onto interesting topics then, Luke I have that photo from our last holiday.

    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/6073/371/1600/groovy.jpg

    It was lovely, we should do it again soon but next time I’d like to drive.

  84. Louis Hissink November 7, 2006 at 9:25 pm #

    Nexus_6

    “Even if there isn’t, why does that mean it can’t of happened in the past?”

    Well how scientific is that? Something that hasn’t been observed in the past, is now assumed to have been.

    Science is about observing and learning tp form tentative rules about natural processes.

    Nexus, in your case I have not worked out how to work out a rule for stupidity.

  85. Nexus 6 November 7, 2006 at 9:31 pm #

    Louis, everything that has happened before humans were around hasn’t been observed (unless by ET). What’s your point? It certainly has nothing to do with science.

  86. Nexus 6 November 7, 2006 at 9:34 pm #

    What’s your stoopid rule, Louis? I wanna know so I can spots those stoopid types if I comes across ’em.

  87. Boxer November 7, 2006 at 9:35 pm #

    But Luke, there are public service scientists who work hard to grow trees as efficiently as possible, so that other public servants can organise private contractors to cut them down. It’s called forestry. There are probably other public scientists who assist mining companies dig stuff up.

    It’s a source of some light relief I suppose – the whole argument is taken to the ridiculous extremes (e.g. “throwing infinite amounts of money at public research etc etc”) and if you google Prof Davidson, he is at RMIT, so is perhaps a public service scientist himself? Geez, where does one go from here?

  88. Pinxi November 7, 2006 at 9:38 pm #

    Boxer you’re priceless!

  89. Luke November 7, 2006 at 10:22 pm #

    I’m holding my breath until I get infinity money for abiotic oil research. And I’m not kidding this time (again).

  90. Luke November 7, 2006 at 10:28 pm #

    Boxer – and if they were private enterprise persons they would have cut it down and dug it up more cheaply, more efficiently, with better manners and paid Rog good money to do so he can buy a 1,024 inch plasma TV and improve his quality of life.

    Pinx can you go on the abiotic team and help them. I know you don’t want to – but it will help Louis.

    And jeez u look hot in that dress too (that’s Pinx not Boxer or Louis).

  91. Pinxi November 7, 2006 at 11:05 pm #

    it could be vegan science, allowing vegans to consume abiotic oil & coal and synthetic petro replacements for animal resources knowing that in their original production, no creatures were harmed

  92. Louis Hissink November 8, 2006 at 10:43 pm #

    Nexus_6

    Science is explaining what we observe about the dynamic changing world we live in with testable ideas (theories). Intrinsic to science is the test of falsibility.

    In terms of history, whether geological or anthropologiccal, scientific testing of the past is impossible, but the application of the scientific method to historical analysis, however, is certainly possible.

    So in terms of Abiotic theory of oil subject here to much uninformed comment, it is possible to put the issue simply.

    1. Either oil is a once off geological oddity of finite limits or

    2. Oil is being cotinuously produced by, at hinted processes pointed to by Tommy Gold, for example, asubterranean biosphere under our feet.

    None of you commenting here seem to have understood the issue, and so don’t be offended if we then call you STOOPID.

  93. Luke November 9, 2006 at 12:58 am #

    zzzzzzzzz.. .. .. .. ..

  94. Pinxi November 9, 2006 at 8:46 am #

    Intriguing thing about Louis’ strong support of the Russian abiotic oil idea is that Louis has (previous exchanges) emphatically denied that the Gaia hypothesis is even possible, denied that life and climate could interact. This idea has strong foundations in Russian science.

    eg Vernadsky showed the chemical links between biospheric gases and living matter and how the 2 are in an equilibrium state of dynamic exchange, in which photosynthesis plays a crucial role. He saw life as the most potent geological force.

    I think this was taught in Russian schools

  95. Nexus 6 November 9, 2006 at 9:03 am #

    Louis, you still haven’t answered the question about biological buildup on the sea floor, plus all the others I asked. If you know your theory, you should have no problems answering them instead of trying silly diversions about what you think the scientific method is.

  96. Davey Gam Esq. November 9, 2006 at 10:54 am #

    Oil is made by God, or more probably Allah. That’s why the Muslims have so much. This is the Noumenal and Final Theory of Oil Formation (NAFTOF). I am infallible, so don’t even think about arguing. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle…Kings Ch.1 v.39 – see?

  97. Luke November 9, 2006 at 3:16 pm #

    My mail (look no Google !) just arrived with my copy of

    Glasby P
    Abiogenic Origin of Hydrocarbons: An Historical Overview.
    Laboratory for Earthquake Chemistry, Tokyo

    Resource Geology 5:1 85-98 2006

    Says:

    Gold’s theory involves degassing of methane from the mantle and the formations of higher hydrocarbons from methane in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust. However, formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layer of the Earth’s crust occurs only as a result of Fischer-Tropsch reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds. The theory is therefore invalid. Both theories (including Russian- Ukranian) have been overtaken by the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the modes of formation of hydrocarbon deposits in nature.”

    Over 110 references cited with very detailed arguments.

    Worth keeping up with the literature Louis.

  98. Louis Hissink November 9, 2006 at 9:03 pm #

    Luke,

    Clearly neither you nor Glasby seem to have read Gold’s papers.

    Quoting you above “However, formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layer of the Earth’s crust occurs only as a result of Fischer-Tropsch reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds.

    The Fischer Tropsche process is a totally artificial means of producing petroleum and DOES NOT operate in the upper layer of the earth’s crust unless Royal Dutch Shell has hidden production centres.

    Gold’s theory proposes a deep hot biosphere to produce the petroleum. Glasby makes no reference at all to this crucial part of Gold’s theory.

    Neither of you have read Gold’s work it seems, so until you have and familiarised yourself with some facts, perhaps it might be wiser to stop and think before penning a comment here?

  99. Louis Hissink November 9, 2006 at 9:19 pm #

    Nexus_6

    Life assumes various manisfestations depending on the nature of the environment or climate. I thnk I might have written this some where on the web at sometime.

    It is also a little hard answering your non-sequitors: so I don’t.

  100. Luke November 9, 2006 at 9:30 pm #

    Glasby cites some 13 of Gold’s papers and many from the Russian literature. I have them on order too. So I take it you are familiar with the detailed chemistry in Glasby’s paper then Louis. I assume you would be keeping up with developments.

  101. Louis Hissink November 9, 2006 at 9:40 pm #

    Luke,

    you still have not refuted my point that Glasby omitted Gold’s Hot deep biosphere model.

    Come back when you can.

  102. Schiller Thurkettle November 9, 2006 at 9:45 pm #

    Louis,

    Thanks for raising an interesting and engaging topic. You and others here may find a recent news tidbit interesting and relevant.

    A Taiwan-led research team has discovered a self-sustaining community of bacteria 2.825 km below the surface of the Earth in South Africa, proving that life forms can exist in inorganic environments.

    According to the team’s research results, the biome, found in a gold mine outside Johannesburg, has possibly been there for 3 million to 25 million years, supporting itself by consuming sulfate and hydrogen, which does not come from photosynthetic process but from fracture water radiated by uranium.

    A species from the division of firmicutes, the largest group in the bacteria community, was found to be able to digest minerals and produce chemical waste, which the other kinds of bacteria depend on to live.

    The importance of this finding is that it is the first time scientists have proved that life can exist without photosynthesis and be sustained purely on minerals.

    See, “Taiwan researchers find subsurface biome in inorganic environments,” The China Post, 2006/10/26, http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/detail.asp?ID=93697&GRP=B

    See also, “Bacteria inform origins of life,” Daily Princetonian,
    October 25, 2006, http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2006/10/25/news/16349.shtml

  103. Luke November 9, 2006 at 10:08 pm #

    Louis – you mean Gold and 1992 and 1999 “The Deep Hot Biosphere” – nope he has those pride of place.

    Ih Gold’s discussion of the deep, hot biosphere (1992, and 1999) he is referring to the upper 5 to 10 km of the Earth’s crust.

    Methane can only be converted to hydrocarbons at >30kbar corresponding to about 100km below the Earth’s surface. The proposed reaction above this depth is not consistent with the the second law of thermodynamics. Furthermore bacteria can not catalyse thermodynamically unfavourable reactions.

    So Gold’s deep gas theory in which hydrocarbons are supposedly formed from methane in the Earth’s crust is invalid.

  104. Davey Gam Esq. November 10, 2006 at 10:49 am #

    Louis,
    The term is ‘non sequitur’ not ‘non sequitor’ – do brush up on foreign languages before using them. Anyway, as a fellow contrarian I think your abiotic oil thread was very lively and interesting. Scientists should question everything. Merci, mon vieux.

  105. Nexus 6 November 10, 2006 at 12:36 pm #

    Logical fallacy. Yeah right:

    Much organic source is found in stratified water bodies where oxygenated surface waters permit plankton growth. As stated earlier, organic matter is sapropelic, supplied by phytoplankton.
    The accumulation of such matter is aided when circulation of water is restricted to some extent so that an oxygen deficiency exists on the bottom sediments to decompose the organic material. E.g.
    lakes, fjords, silled basins (Black Sea),sediment starved basins (Gulf of California), and deep Ocean trenches (Cariaco trench.)

    As a result of poor circulation and restriction the water bodies become stratified and the sea or lake floor may become oxygen deficient (dysaerobic) or totally anoxic. Dysaerobic conditions occur where the sea floor is within the oxygen minimum zone, generally in a depth range of 100-100m. The low O2 results from bacterial decomposition of organic matter sinking down from fertile oxic surface waters. Where there
    is oxygen deficiency on the sea floor, organic matter will be preserved.

    Gee Louis, maybe that’s why you find oil in these places. Or maybe it’s just coincidental.
    http://www.kingdomdrilling.co.uk/diggin/Oil%20and%20gas%20maturation%20688.pdf

  106. Pinxi November 10, 2006 at 7:52 pm #

    Pah to Davey and his false patriarchal gods. God and Allah seek the credit to win the support of lobbyists, but oil is Gaia’s lifeblood and so regularly occurs in areas where She birthed human civilisations. Coal and gas are products from Her digestion. The clues that Louis seeks lie not where he looks.

  107. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 8:37 pm #

    Davy Gam Esq.

    I accept the correction of non sequitur – probably caused by a few computer hardware hassles I had these last few days (more to do with wireless interference from peripherals – the Logitech wireless keyboard was very irritating.

    Cheers

  108. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 8:40 pm #

    Nexus_6,

    Like Luke, or Phil, his clone, (or is it the other way around) you are wading into deep waters.

    Sure organic material is accumulating in stratabound water bodies.

    OK, so what is a stratabound water body, since you raised the issue?

  109. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 8:44 pm #

    Luke,

    your last comment displays your ignorance of the debate.

    Who said Methane was converted to hydrocarbons at the 5-10 km of the earth’s crust.

    But before I waste anymore time on this, I have a hardcover version of Gold’s Hot Deep Biosphere.

    Have you actually read the book?

  110. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 8:46 pm #

    Schiller,

    Thanks for that reference.

    I might follow it up in a future AIG News issue, next year too !

    Best

  111. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 8:52 pm #

    Luke,

    Glasby might well have Gold’s texts as pride of place but you seem not to have understood my question.

    Glasby’s quote which you emphatically used as a rejection of Gold’s hypothesis, did not mention a deep hot biosphere of ‘life’ “down there” as part of the formation of petroleum.

    If you are going to can someone’s theory, at least study it.

  112. detribe November 10, 2006 at 9:06 pm #

    Grassby is a bit of grind to get through in a detailed tour of the history of abiotic oils hypothesis. But you get to this incisive webpage

    http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/012805_no_free_pt3.shtml

    In closing, we turn to the eminent Australian astrobiologist and geologist, Dr. Jonathan Clarke. Dr. Clarke has produced a list of 16 observations which must be explained by the abiotic hypothesis before it can be seriously considered. We ask that abiotic supporters use this as a checklist, and please do not bother us again until you have successfully addressed each and every one of these points.

    Dr. Clarke’s list is as follows:

    To deny this [that 99.99999% of the world’s liquid hydrocarbons are produced by maturation of organic matter] means you have to come up with good explanations for the following observations.

    1) The almost universal association of petroleum with sedimentary rocks.

    2) The close link between petroleum reservoirs and source rocks as shown by biomarkers (the source rocks contain the same organic markers as the petroleum, essentially chemically fingerprinting the two).

    3) The consistent variation of biomarkers in petroleum in accordance with the history of life on earth (biomarkers indicative of land plants are found only in Devonian and younger rocks, that formed by marine plankton only in Neoproterozoic and younger rocks, the oldest oils containing only biomarkers of bacteria).

    3) The close link between the biomarkers in source rock and depositional environment (source rocks containing biomarkers of land plants are found only in terrestrial and shallow marine sediments, those indicating marine conditions only in marine sediments, those from hypersaline lakes containing only bacterial biomarkers).

    4) Progressive destruction of oil when heated to over 100 degrees (precluding formation and/or migration at high temperatures as implied by the abiogenic postulate).

    5) The generation of petroleum from kerogen on heating in the laboratory (complete with biomarkers), as suggested by the biogenic theory.

    6) The strong enrichment in C12 of petroleum indicative of biological fractionation (no inorganic process can cause anything like the fractionation of light carbon that is seen in petroleum).

    7) The location of petroleum reservoirs down the hydraulic gradient from the source rocks in many cases (those which are not are in areas where there is clear evidence of post migration tectonism).

    8) The almost complete absence of significant petroleum occurrences in igneous and metamorphic rocks.

    The evidence usually cited in favor of abiogenic petroleum can all be better explained by the biogenic hypothesis, e.g.:

    9) Rare traces of cooked pyrobitumens in igneous rocks (better explained by reaction with organic rich country rocks, with which the pyrobitumens can usually be tied).

    10) Rare traces of cooked pyrobitumens in metamorphic rocks (better explained by metamorphism of residual hydrocarbons in the protolith).

    11) The very rare occurrence of small hydrocarbon accumulations in igneous or metamorphic rocks (in every case these are adjacent to organic rich sedimentary rocks to which the hydrocarbons can be tied via biomarkers).

    12) The presence of undoubted mantle derived gases (such as He and some CO2) in some natural gas (there is no reason why gas accumulations must be all from one source; given that some petroleum fields are of mixed provenance, it is inevitable that some mantle gas contamination of biogenic hydrocarbons will occur under some circumstances).

    13) The presence of traces of hydrocarbons in deep wells in crystalline rock (these can be formed by a range of processes, including metamorphic synthesis by the Fischer-Tropsch reaction, or from residual organic matter as in 10).

    14) Traces of hydrocarbon gases in magma volatiles (in most cases magmas ascend through sedimentary succession, any organic matter present will be thermally cracked and some will be incorporated into the volatile phase; some Fischer-Tropsch synthesis can also occur).

    15) Traces of hydrocarbon gases at mid ocean ridges (such traces are not surprising given that the upper mantle has been contaminated with biogenic organic matter through several billion years of subduction, the answer to 14 may be applicable also).

    16) Traces of hydrocarbons in hydrothermal fluids; these are also all compositionally consistent with derivation from either country rocks or Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

    The geological evidence is utterly against the abiogenic postulate.

    We fully agree with Dr. Clarke: the geological evidence does not support the abiogenic hypothesis.

  113. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 9:58 pm #

    Dtribe

    a comprehensive list fo points which I will counter once studied.

    Your point 15, “Traces of hydrocarbon gases at mid ocean ridges (such traces are not surprising given that the upper mantle has been contaminated with biogenic organic matter through several billion years of subduction, the answer to 14 may be applicable also).”

    Midoceanic ridges are not locii of subduction but in plate tectonic terms, linear zones of mantle upwelling.

    May I politely suggest you stick to what you actually know and understand rather than, what I assume you are parroting, someone’s other view?

  114. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 10:01 pm #

    Norton, (or Morton, if you follow King Billy Coke Bottle) has decided to scan the computer.

    So I retire.

  115. Louis Hissink November 10, 2006 at 10:07 pm #

    detribe

    Your reference site (from the wilderness) is scientically beyond the pale.

    Your arguments, detailed above, have to be ignored as the ramblings of a credulous individual unable to discriminate fact from fiction.

  116. varp November 10, 2006 at 10:45 pm #

    Give this abiotic thing a bit of a rest for a mo Louis and tell us about how hurricanes are caused by electricity again.

  117. Luke November 11, 2006 at 5:14 am #

    Louis when confronted with our issues you have resorted to ad homs and bluster. Remarkably the same as with any AGW discussion.

    Quite simply – you have failed to argue your case.

  118. Helen Mahar November 11, 2006 at 10:10 am #

    Following this thread, I am reminded of the 18th Century belief that all swans were white. Counting white swans only added to the supporting evidence, it did not prove the belief correct. Evidence of black swans forced amendment to belief.

    Lous has proposed that oil may be abiotic in origin. That runs agains popular belief that oil is biotic and sedimentary in origin. I have posted a puzzling example of a small oil seep, from a granite outcrop, (with no sign yet of oil in the surrounding sedimentary deposits) which cannot be explained by the biotic origin theory. Like the black swan example, I have to accept that some oil may be abiotic in origin, and stop metophorically counting white swans to support a belief that runs counter to evidence.

  119. Luke November 11, 2006 at 4:00 pm #

    Well Helen – the only to progress is to get some and have it analysed.

  120. Davey Gam Esq. November 11, 2006 at 8:04 pm #

    Pinxi,
    I have spoken to my friend Jim Lovelock, and he says it was not Gaiea, it was Zadok the priest. Don your hijab and stay home until further notice. By the way, I tried to shufti that photo of you and Luke, but it said FORBIDDEN (signed Allah). I am very curious.

  121. Louis Hissink November 11, 2006 at 8:35 pm #

    Varp,

    Hurricanes, cyclones or typhoons are enormous vortices of, in the limited language I have, of fluid systems.

    From observation of flowing fluids, generally water down drainage channels, scientists have developed some theories that work when the flow is “laminar” (or linear for the less informed”.

    One of the mysteries of physical processes is when matters start to become unpredictable – or chaotic.

    Chaos is an admission of scientific ignorance.

  122. Louis Hissink November 11, 2006 at 8:39 pm #

    Luke,

    I have never responded with an “ad hominem” to critics of my posts here.

    Running out of facts?

  123. Louis Hissink November 11, 2006 at 8:46 pm #

    Refutation of detribe’s onerous list is here – http://www.gasresources.net/DisposalBioClaims.htm

  124. Louis Hissink November 11, 2006 at 9:11 pm #

    Varp,

    the answer to your question is Birkeland Currents.

    It’s the currents which produce the vortices.

  125. Luke November 11, 2006 at 9:29 pm #

    hmmmm

    “Your arguments, detailed above, have to be ignored as the ramblings of a credulous individual unable to discriminate fact from fiction.”

    “May I politely suggest you stick to what you actually know and understand rather than, what I assume you are parroting, someone’s other view?”

    “None of you commenting here seem to have understood the issue, and so don’t be offended if we then call you STOOPID.”

    “You lot are literally grasping at straws.

    How about butting out commenting about topics for which you have no expertise.

    You are permitted full permission to comment on, adjudicate and censor any comments fitting the category “Stupidity”.”

    ad hominem – “when people can’t find fault with an argument, they sometimes attack the arguer, substituting irrelevant assertions about that person’s character for an analysis of the argument itself.”

    Glass jaw: “Vulnerability, especially of a public figure, to criticism.”

    Pot calling the kettle black: “If someone hypocritically criticises a person for something that they themselves do, then it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. ”

  126. Luke November 11, 2006 at 9:38 pm #

    Louis – your rebuttal piece is hardly a scholarly article – wouldn’t even get past our base level panel – they should remove all the bolshy emotional comments for starters. Unlikely Glassby there is no side by side comparison of the literature – in such a piece they need to cite some of the copious isotope evidence and then refute it – they’ve simply offered an opinion and a dismissal – thta’s not science. They haven’t defended Gold and formation of hydrocarbons from methane. It’s a selective opinion piece and unconvincing.

  127. varp November 11, 2006 at 9:40 pm #

    It seems to me Louis, in this thread and others on this august blog, that you continually seek to muddy the waters.

    Why? Gawd knows, but I can only assume that you are strangely compelled to defend industry at any cost. Seems to be part of this weird deeply felt belief that the earth and everything on and in it is ours to do as we see fit. Whether it’s part of a biblical misinterpretation or a cultural/narcissistic thing or just a shitload of guilt that causes one to cling to these apparently lame theories that deny any kind of potential anthropogenic cataclysm, you remain one of the exemplars.

    I dunno what you think of the Holocaust and I don’t want to know, but why do you go on like this? Playing Devils advocate perhaps or a twisted relationship with your father? Whether or not oil is abiotic in origin is neither here nor there to me in this, what I find strangely compelling about this theory is why you are attracted to it and others that seem to hold out your fundamental belief that all is well and the party is set to continue.

    Another example is this seriously wacky statement that you made over at Henry Thornton –

    “Hurricanes are essentially electrical phenomena in the earth’s thicker atmosphere. CO2 and global warming has totally nothing at all to do with hurricane formation.”

    I mean…… really…..why go on like this?

    Cheers, Best Wishes and Love to All.

  128. Louis Hissink November 11, 2006 at 9:48 pm #

    Varp,

    Our differences might be explained by the observation that you don’t seem to think.

    Present scientific theory assumes one force in the universe – gravity.

    Heretics as myself suggest another bigger one, electricty, some 10 to the power of 39 times larger than gravity.

    Think about it and come back.

  129. Louis Hissink November 11, 2006 at 9:51 pm #

    Luke,

    the article was published in a peer reviewed journal.

    You should come up with the isotope evidence here, and when have you hinted at your scientific skills here?

    You are a charlatan.

  130. Luke November 11, 2006 at 9:57 pm #

    So you have to ask youself how many of us get to play Galileo ?

    Anyway excellent “ad homage” guys – Louis I’ll still stoush with you and keep you company. Incidentally this thread has been quite good for you – you’ve almost over 130 comments – so you’ve had us on the ropes and engaged us fullsomely. Count the comments as sucess of the topic. And even though you don’t mind a bit of biffo and dodgem cars Louis – you never get totally nasty.

    And we’ve saved you a few trips to the library.

    But alas as the sun sinks – the thread will soon be below Jen’s fascist archival timeline and into blog archives where few tread except “blog monks and lay scholars”. Oil deserves another category I think. I can send you Glasby paper via Jen if you would like – inform her if so.

  131. varp November 11, 2006 at 10:01 pm #

    As a pissy little tree hugger that doesn’t know how the toaster works and never will. I will, unfortunately, never ever get a handle on anything quantum.

    I do read New Scientist, but thats only to lull me to sleep……it’s just too weird I’m afraid!

    Don’t want to derail the abiotic thread, but do you stand by that statement you made regarding hurricanes Louis?

  132. Luke November 11, 2006 at 10:03 pm #

    Jeez I should have said “get knackered” before I wrote the above. Nah – a bit of biffo is OK. It’s cool.

    But alas Phil here and Rog in the blog have me on a Google ban for a week. See my recent stoush with nasty Rog on Murray.

    Energia board deserves to be sacked for allowing unscholarly material. Obviously a mere trade journal. I was not being smart – I can come up with a big literature on selective use of carbon isotopes by plants. Even distinguish whether areas have been C3 woodlands or C4 grasslands in the past.

    Louis if you were’nt so bloody toey we may be able to learn something from each other even though you are a bit of an up yourself wanker. But watch I don’t knick your wallet when you’re not looking.

  133. Schiller Thurkettle November 11, 2006 at 10:23 pm #

    It is often possible to use different methods to produce essentially the same product.

    Could it be that some oil is biotic, while some oil is abiotic?

    Does anyone contend that there can be only one way by which oil is naturally produced?

  134. Luke November 11, 2006 at 10:33 pm #

    Schillsy – yes I think there are naturally occurring hydrocarbons – but how much, why and where is the issue. I’m puzzled why petroleum geologists have so much success looking in the wrong rock types specified by the abiogenic hypothesis and why they can predict what sort of oil they are likely to find on biological criteria. Do they get right answers for the wrong reasons??

  135. Pinxi November 13, 2006 at 10:14 am #

    Helen & Schiller it has already been acknowledged in discussions above that perhaps *some* oil *might* be abiotic but is it of a quantity worthy of any attention?

    Insofar as the best of us can make sense of his ad hom defensiveness and misuse of blunt secateurs, Louis doesn’t appear to be arguing that *some* oil *might* be abiotic. His strongest argument seems to be that anyone who questions his beliefs is an idiot.

  136. Josiah Zohar February 1, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    Surely hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) not come from biological detritus. It’s nonsense because it’s impossible according natural laws of physics, overall 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics. To simplify discussions is interesting to note what said Sir Fred Hoyle:

    “The suggestion that petroleum might have arisen from some transformation of squashed fish or biological detritus is surely the silliest notion to have been entertained by substantial numbers of persons over an extended period of time.” Fred Hoyle, 1982.

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