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  • OT - abiotic production of petroleum

    since everyone here loves OT posts, i have one.
    i was just emailed some info on the abiotic production of petroleum. basically, bacteria live in some ooze deep below the earth's surface and use heat and helium to make petroleum, thus actually producing an almost never-ending supply. i think it's a big bunch of crap. anyone hear know anything about it?

    andy b.
    The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

  • #2
    Sounds like some one is on a real "trip". :-)
    ...lew...

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    • #3
      Sounds like the real deal to me! Send me $500 and I'll send you an envelope of the requisite bacteria. Just plant them in your backyard.

      Doug

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      • #4
        bacteria

        Doug, I don't know where you are getting them from because I have the market cornered and am selling them for $1000.00 and ounce. Am taking orders as I type. GET YOURS TODAY. Minimum order 5 oz. Peter
        The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.

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        • #5
          Firstly, if bacteria are making it it isn't abiotic. Secondly, to synthesize compounds of a higher energy level than the constituents you need energy. There is a catch though. Not only do you need energy you need an energy slope or difference. Making a new compound that has more energy than the ingredients is an endothermic reaction. That means it absorbs energy from the surroundings. In general, for such compounds to be stable they must be able to cool which is a part of an endothermic reaction. In an environment such as deep in the Earth's crust the energy density is both very uniform and high. There is no heat sink available in the range of temperatures required for the synthesis of petroleum compounds.

          There are of course other little clues that the abiotic genesis speculation conveniently ignores. The reason that petroleum is called "fossil fuel" is that it contains fossil specimens of the plants that contributed to it's production.

          Then there is the issue of helium. Methane and crude oil are the only source of helium on Earth. Today the atmosphere contains only tiny traces of helium as nearly all of it has escaped into space. Crude oil and methane however contain much higher percentages of helium than would be possible if the oil were formed relatively recently. There just isn't a source in modern geophysical times for the helium found in oil. It is there because when the plants that became oil were deposited the helium content of the atmosphere was much higher than it is now and some of that helium was trapped in the carbonaceous deposits that became oil.

          In short, the abiotic speculation is wrong.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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          • #6
            Naw, God PUT that helium into the petroleum to confound the scientists.
            .
            "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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            • #7

              Naw, God PUT that helium into the petroleum to confound the scientists.
              That is one scenario that some people believe. If it is true then Science is meaningless. We may as well depend on astrology for designing bridges.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                If helium were more abundant in the atmosphere earlier, then the air must have been uniformly lighter...... so that helium was not so different in density/molecular weight.

                Or it must have been so soon after the creation of an atmosphere that diffusion had not occurred.

                Hydrogen and Helium escape because they are so light that they migrate UP slowly but surely. A small bias to the random motions.

                The actual source is apparently radioactive decay.....

                If it is true then Science is meaningless. We may as well depend on astrology for designing bridges.
                As you have probably realized by now, that statement is not actually supportable by logical means !


                As far as the "abiotic" garbage, just exactly how in the blue &^%$ does anyone expect to make a carbon and hydrogen molecule using helium as the raw material?

                The statement simply makes less than no sense..... I think just saying or typing it several times could reduce your IQ a measurable amount.... So by now the proponents of same must have the brains of a low grade of slime mold
                Last edited by J Tiers; 05-17-2008, 01:32 AM.
                1601

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan

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                • #9
                  Hydrogen and Helium escape because they are so light that they migrate UP slowly but surely. A small bias to the random motions.
                  I don't think so. The atmosphere stays mixed. Brownian motion totally overwhelms the very weak force of gravity at that scale (added: gravity is 10^40 times weaker than electromagnetism). What happens is that the helium component of the atmosphere is simply easier to accelerate to escape velocity when it is near the top of the atmosphere.

                  As for the origin of the helium, the overwhelming majority of methane sources contain a ratio of helium 3 to helium 4 that argues for a biogenic source of oil. Helium 3 is more common in oil than helium 4 and the ratio is different than that in the current atmosphere. Helium 3 is formed only by fusion whereas helium 4 is formed by radioactive decay. The abundance of helium 3 vs He4 indicates that atmospheric helium derived from primal sources (stardust) is the the main source of helium in oil.
                  Last edited by Evan; 05-17-2008, 03:33 AM.
                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Evan
                    I don't think so.
                    I'm sure that's nice.
                    1601

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan

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                    • #11
                      I don't know about that Andy, but one theory holds that organic matter is constantly being subsumed(?) at the junction of tectonic plates and being exposed to enormous forces. is it possible? Sure. Why not. Is it happening? Your guess is a good as mine.

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                      • #12
                        I'm sure that's nice.
                        It's very easy to measure. The ratio of oxygen to nitrogen and argon stays the same within a very tiny fraction to at least 50,000 feet. The difference between the atomic weight of argon and oxygen and nitrogen is greater than the difference of helium to oxygen but we don't find argon pooling in the valleys even though there is approximately one liter of argon for every cubic meter of air.

                        Above 50,000 feet the influence of solar radiation begins to dominate as it ionizes the molecular species causing a different balance of gases to predominate. At the the space interface layer in the ionosphere is where the loss of helium takes place because the impact of solar cosmic rays and coronal mass ejections is easily able to accelerate the lightest species to escape velocity. This is also easily seen by the large ballooning of the atmosphere when high activity solar events impinge on it. It was that sort of ballooning that was responsible for the early unpredicted demise of Skylab.

                        Fortunately the Earth has sufficient density and gravity to hang on to most of it's atmosphere. In the extremely rarified zone of the ionosphere gravity once again is able to take over since electromagnetic interactions are far less common.

                        I don't know about that Andy, but one theory holds that organic matter is constantly being subsumed(?) at the junction of tectonic plates and being exposed to enormous forces. is it possible? Sure. Why not. Is it happening? Your guess is a good as mine.
                        Considering that tectonic plates aren't exactly "galloping" into the depths that is not able to explain the source of oil. The maximum motion seen is no more than an average of tens of centimeters per year.
                        Last edited by Evan; 05-17-2008, 10:04 AM.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                        • #13
                          For what it's worth, apparently new research (I can't locate the reference, may have been in Smithsonian mag) shows that the upper atmosphere does NOT mix well with lower. There was speculation from that concerning water vapor and GW effects of high altitude deposition of water vapor by aircraft, commercial, and especially military.

                          It seems to be accepted that hydrogen "leaks" out of the atmosphere slowly.


                          And what about your own statement?:

                          Today the atmosphere contains only tiny traces of helium as nearly all of it has escaped into space.
                          It seems that I said that exact thing...... but you objected.........
                          1601

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan

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                          • #14
                            What I objected to is the idea that it floats up because it is lighter as in "small bias to random motions". While it sounds reasonable on the face of it it isn't how the helium gets to the upper atmosphere. It is carried there along with the other gases as they circulate through the air column. They may not circulate well but they do circulate.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                            • #15
                              thanks for the lessons on helium! i actually thought there was no helium in petroleum, but now i see there is. and this whole abiotic oil thing sounds even more loony after reading the replies here.

                              andy b.
                              The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

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