A study published in Science Magazine today presents new evidence supporting the abiotic theory for the origin of oil, which asserts oil is a natural product the Earth generates constantly rather than a “fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs.
The lead scientist on the study â€“ Giora Proskurowski of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle â€“ says the hydrogen-rich fluids venting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the Lost City Hydrothermal Field were produced by the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in the mantle of the earth.
The abiotic theory of the origin of oil directly challenges the conventional scientific theory that hydrocarbons are organic in nature, created by the deterioration of biological material deposited millions of years ago in sedimentary rock and converted to hydrocarbons under intense heat and pressure. …
The abiotic theory argues, in contrast, that hydrocarbons are naturally produced on a continual basis throughout the solar system, including within the mantle of the earth. The advocates believe the oil seeps up through bedrock cracks to deposit in sedimentary rock. Traditional petro-geologists, they say, have confused the rock as the originator rather than the depository of the hydrocarbons. …
Lost City is a hypothermal field some 2,100 feet below sea level that sits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the center of the Atlantic Ocean, noted for strange 90 to 200 foot white towers on the sea bottom.
In 2003 and again in 2005, Proskurowski and his team descended in a scientific submarine to collect liquid bubbling up from Lost City sea vents.
Proskurowski found hydrocarbons containing carbon-13 isotopes that appeared to be formed from the mantle of the Earth, rather than from biological material settled on the ocean floor.
Carbon 13 is the carbon isotope scientists associate with abiotic origin, compared to Carbon 12 that scientists typically associate with biological origin.
Proskurowski argued that the hydrocarbons found in the natural hydrothermal fluids coming out of the Lost City sea vents is attributable to abiotic production by Fischer-Tropsch, or FTT, reactions.
The Fischer-Tropsch equations were first developed by Nazi scientists who created methodologies for producing synthetic oil from coal.
“Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water and moderate amounts of heat,” Proskurowski wrote.
The study also confirmed a major argument of Cornell University physicist Thomas Gold, who argued in his book “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels” that micro-organisms found in oil might have come from the mantle of the earth where, absent photosynthesis, the micro-organisms feed on hydrocarbons arising from the earth’s mantle in the dark depths of the ocean floors.
Affirming this point, Proskurowski concluded the article by noting, “Hydrocarbon production by FTT could be a common means for producing precursors of life-essential building blocks in ocean-floor environments or wherever warm ultramafic rocks are in contact with water.”
Earlier post on Abiotic Natural Gas containing useful link.
Jim from Oregon
I have been researching abiotic oil the last few days since I read of this finding.
While the vast majority of “experts” discount this theory, what occures to this “non-expert” is that the experts discount or ignore all the evidence of abiotic oil, but give every benefit of the doubt to the “fossil” fuel theory.
That is not proper scientific method.
Each theory should have the same starting line, and the same burden of proof required.
But when I look at the theory for “fossil” fuel the evidence is lacking.
First off, the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not support the formation of oil in the sedimentary deposits. The temperature is not hot enough and the pressure is not high enough.
No scientific experiment has been able to replicate petroleum using a organic/sedimentary model. In fact, as stated above, the Second Law of Thermodynamics expressly contradicts such a model.
Nor has it been demonstrated that organic detritus can be converted into petroleum under any conditions.
Not a single proponent of “fossil” fuel has adequately refuted this objection. Most ignore it completely.
In contrast, the proponents of abiotic oil have theoretically demonstrated and through scientific experiment demonstrated, that their abiotic theory complies with the Second Law of Thermodynamics and can be replicated in the science lab.
And, in fact the conditions created in the lab, which generate the carbon-hydrogen system are consistent with the environment in the earth’s mantel at 100-150 kilometers depth.
Just where the abiotic theory predicts the oil is/was formed (there seems to be debate as to whether the oil is being constantly formed or has been formed and sits in reservoir in the mantel). Maybe both.
No opponent of abiotic oil has successfully countered the experimental success of abiotic oil’s proponents as opposed to the failure of “fossil” fuel’s proponents to experimentally prove their theory.
Second, as obvious as this may seem, no proponent of “fossil” fuel has explained how an ocean or even a shallow sea would be still or calm enough to allow this precipitation of organic matter in one (several) place(s) over a long time. We know that currents (sometimes strong) inhabit every reach of open sea or ocean.
These currents would sweep away organic matter rather than let it gently precipitate from the surface to the bottom upon their death.
Actually, what evidence there is shows the currents would be strong and surface weather would also not be conducive to this precipitate action.
Stagnant shallow seas? I saw no evidence offered for this contention.
Here’s the problem: Everything is assumed in “fossil” fuel theory. Wrong, nothing can be assumed. Good science doesn’t assume. Too many processes are taken for granted and not backed up by rigorous science.
Too many base terms are undefined.
At this point, I believe it is as much up to the proponents of “fossil” fuel to prove their case as it is for abiotic oil to prove their case. Actually,if there were a heavier burden (as I stated at the top, each has an equal scientific burden), it would rest on the “fossil” fuel because, so far, so little has been proved on a theory that has been around since 1757.
In this race of poof, abiotic oil proponents are ahead and heading to the finish line.
After all is said and done, it maybe the “fossil” fuel advocates who turn out to be the Flat-Earth people.
Science is the basis of most of our understanding of the world. People of good will want the best available science currently available on any given subject, especially when the subject is controversial, and political feelings are likely to influence the debate.
The blog Oil is Mastery is devoted to the abiotic oil theory, with links to scientific papers, newsarticles, tradepapers, and opinions. The focus of Oil is Mastery is off-shore, deepwater deep-drilling. The exploration and deep-drilling off-shore is where the oil industry is actually drilling into abiotic oil.
Fossil fuel theorists maintain that there is an “oil window” that stops at 15,000 feet deep. Any deeper than that and oil won’t form or will breakdown into methane becuase of the heat.
Already, oil has been found in the Gulf of Mexico and 180 miles off the coast of Brazil deeper than 15,000 feet deep (23,000 feet in the Gulf and 16,000 feet off Brazil) below the ocean floor.
Check out Oil is Mastery, the blog exclusively dedicated to the purpose of providing information and opinion on abiotic oil.
Post script correction:
The oil well, referenced above, in the Gulf of Mexico that is deeper than the 15,000 foot “oil window” was drilled and is operated by Chevron. The “Jack 2” hit oil more than 20,000 feet below the floor of the Gulf in 7,000 feet of water, for a total of 28,000 feet below the surface. The Jack 2 has been described in Chevron’s “Human Energy” ad campaign.
An interesting piece of scientific evidence is the diamond fingerprint, or diamond signature, if you will, which is present in all crude oil.
More formally, diamondoids, diamonds on a molecular level. These diamondoids have the same properties as their larger brethren diamonds, such as structural stability and hardness. Diamondoids can only be created in the laboratory in conditions of ultra high temperature and pressure.
All authorities agree diamonds in nature can only be created in the ultra high temperature and pressure of the earth’s mantel, or created in the lab mimicking the same conditions present in the mantel.
Again, all crude oil has at least traces of diamondoids. Thus these microscopic diamond fragments are the non-biogenic fingerprints that show oil and diamondoids are created in the deep mantel in tandum, then migrate together up to the sedimentary oil trapping structures and accumulate.
Supporting references and more explanation is provided at the Oil is Mastery blog in the comment section for the post titled: Scientists Prove hydrocarbons are Abiogenic.
google: The Fake Oil Crisis of 1973
Google “Quadri-Track ZCT”
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