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Is Peak Oil A Fraud?

by Gringo Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 01:38:59 PM EST

Here I go promoting something I know little about.  About the only thing I do know is that occasionally contrarian views have been proven correct, and Dr. Thomas Gold (founding director of Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research), an aficionado of the contrarian view, has been proven right before. I first heard of Dr. Thomas Gold and his "theories" about five years ago following the release of his book "The Deep Hot Bioshere."  He was defending his idea, on a morning radio talk show, that oil was of abiotic origin and not, as dictated by conventional wisdom, a "fossil fuel".  I admit to being immediately curious and headed off to the local bookstores only to find that the book was not in stock.  I never found the book and soon lost interest.  Not until reading the recent articles on "peak oil" did I recall Dr. Gold and then began a new search for more material on this fascinating subject.  As luck would have it, the article featured below, by Joel Bainerman, "If hydrocarbons are renewable- then is 'Peak Oil' a fraud?" appeared in the 321 Energy Web Site yesterday (September 5) and was just what I had been looking for.  However, this was not the only document available in fact, there is an almost overwhelming amount of written material on this subject.


The Question

Are hydrocarbons "renewable"- and if so- what does such a conclusion mean for the future of the world's oil and natural gas supplies?

The question is critical due to the enormous amount of coverage the issue of "Peak Oil" is receiving from the mainstream press. If the supply of hydrocarbons is renewable- then the contrary to the conventional wisdom being touted throughout the mainstream press today- the world is NOT running out of oil.

The Contrarian View

Unbeknownst to Westerners, there have actually been for quite some time now two competing theories concerning the origins of petroleum. One theory claims that oil is an organic 'fossil fuel' deposited in finite quantities near the planet's surface. The other theory claims that oil is continuously generated by natural processes in the Earth's magma.

One of the world's leading advocates for the theory that hydrocarbons are renewable is Dr. Thomas Gold who contends that oil is not a limited resource, and that oil, natural gas and coal, are not so-called "fossil fuels."

In his book, The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels, he explains that dinosaurs and plants and the fossils from those living beings are not the origin of oil and natural gas, but rather generated from a chemical substance in the crust of the Earth.

Dr. Gold: "Astronomers have been able to find that hydrocarbons, as oil, gas and coal are called, occur on many other planetary bodies. They are a common substance in the universe. You find it in the kind of gas clouds that made systems like our solar system. You find large quantities of hydrocarbons in them. Is it reasonable to think that our little Earth, one of the planets, contains oil and gas for reasons that are all its own and that these other bodies have it because it was built into them when they were born? That question makes a lot of sense. After all, they didn't have dinosaurs and ferns on Jupiter to produce oil and gas?"

He continues: "Human skull fossils have been found in anthracite coal in Pennsylvania. The official theory of the development of coal will not accept that reality, since human beings were not around when anthracite coal was formed. Coal was formed millions of years ago. However, you cannot mistake the fact that these are human fossils."

"The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff. It was once a liquid, because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are undestroyed, absolutely preserved; with every cell in that fossil filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside. A hard, brittle coal is not going to get into each cell of a delicate leaf without destroying it. So obviously that stuff was a thin liquid at one time which gradually hardened."

Gold claims that the only thing we find now on the Earth that would do that is petroleum, which gradually becomes stiffer and harder. That is the only logical explanation for the origin of coal. So the fact that coal contains fossils does not prove that it is a fossil fuel; it proves exactly the opposite.

Dr. Gold also claims that there are abundant supplies of natural gas and oil in the earth and sites several cases wherein depleted oil fields have mysteriously refilled.  See the following sites for reports on well known examples: Wall Street Journal, April 16, 1999; WorldNet Daily, May 25, 2004

Soviet and Russian science and exploration experience supports the abiotic theory.
The Russians have researched abiotic origin theories since the end of World War II and have based exploration policies on the theory.  The article claims there are more than 80 oil and gas fields in the Caspian District alone that utilized the new theory during exploration and development.

The theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins is not a vague, qualitative hypothesis, but stands as a rigorous analytic theory within the mainstream of the modern physical sciences. In this respect, the modern theory differs fundamentally not only from the previous hypothesis of a biological origin of petroleum but also from all traditional geological hypotheses.

Actually, since the nineteenth century, knowledgeable physicists, chemists, thermodynamicists, and chemical engineers have regarded with grave reservations (if not outright disdain) the suggestion that highly reduced hydrocarbon molecules of high free enthalpy (the constituents of crude oil) might somehow evolve spontaneously from highly oxidized biogenic molecules of low free enthalpy.

The theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins is presently applied extensively throughout the former U.S.S.R. as the guiding perspective for petroleum exploration and development projects.

So, is "peak oil" a fraud, and if so perpetrated by whom?

So why is the western media being inundated with notions of the world running out of oil?

One could point a finger at the multinational oil companies and their vested interest in having the price of a barrel of oil rise substantially- to justify further exploration expenses- and of course- to bolster their bottom line.

Says Dr. J.F. Kenney, a long-time research on the origins of hydrocarbons:

"For almost a century, various predictions have been made that the human race was imminently going to run out of available petroleum. The passing of time has proven all those predictions to have been utterly wrong. It is pointed out here how all such predictions have depended fundamentally upon an archaic hypothesis from the 18th century that petroleum somehow (miraculously) evolved from biological detritus, and was accordingly limited in abundance."

That hypothesis has been replaced during the past forty years by the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of abyssal, abiotic petroleum origins which has established that petroleum is a primordial material erupted from great depth. Therefore, according to Kenney, petroleum abundances are limited by little more than the quantities of its constituents as were incorporated into the Earth at the time of its formation.

Much research remains to be done on "alternative" theories of the how much hydrocarbons are left in the world- unfortunately- those entities most able to do this research- the western multinational oil conglomerates- have the least interest in arriving at any conclusion other than those that are part of the "Peak Oil" stream of thought. Today the mainstream press has accepted as a given that the world has only a finite amount of oil and natural gas- and thus any decision taken on how to deal with the world's future needs are based on these conclusions. If they are erroneous- then the world is about to embark on a plan to provide for its energy needs for the coming century based on a false notion.
Research geochemist Michael Lewan of the U.S.Geological Survey in Denver, is one of the most knowledgeable advocates of the opposing theory, that petroleum is a "fossil fuel". Yet even Lewan admits:
"I don't think anybody has ever doubted that there is an inorganic source of hydrocarbons. The key question is, 'Do they exist in commercial quantities?'
We might never know the answer to that question because both sides of this debate are not being heard by the general public. If the Russians have accepted the theory that hydrocarbons are renewable- and over time they will become the leading exporters of oil and gas worldwide- this fact alone requires these alternative theories of how fossil fuels are created- is required.

It behooves western governments to begin taking these alternative theories seriously- and design future energy policies based on possibility that they are correct. Whatever strategies for meeting the world's ferocious appetite for energy are devised today- will impact the planet for decades to come.
In this issue- we simply can't afford to be wrong.
Joel Bainerman


Display:
To me all the evidence that I need for peak oil comes from the production numbers for the lower 48 US states. There it is, in pure numerical glory, hard data, showing a clear peak and decline. People will claim in perpetuity that this doesn't apply to the world as a whole, for reason that they can never quite quantify.

I now refer to peak oil naysayers as "earth with a creamy oil center theorists." Mmmm, creamy oil center....

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 02:08:14 PM EST
Peak oil has nothing to do with abiotic oil. The original reserves of oil in the contiguous 48 US states took 4.5 billion years to form and have been extracted, going through a Hubbert peak, in about 100 years. That gives you an idea of the rate of production of abiotic oil. Might be renewable, but at a ridiculous rate.

With non-renewable resources, the limiting factor is the rate of extraction. With renewable resources, the limiting factor is the rate of natural replacement. If abiotic oil had anywhere near the rate of natural replacement to be useful, there would not have been a Hubbert peak in the US in the 1970's.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 02:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only that, but about 40 or so of the 60 or countries that have ever produced oil are in decline today.

Abiotic oil has been debunked thoroughly many times. Just do a search over at the Oil Drum

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 02:25:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm in no position to argue one way or the other about whether the abiotic theory is right or wrong and to what extent, but from what I've seen so far, in comments, I would say you need to read the literature. (1) The US and Europe, and probably most other oil producing countries, do not subscribe to the abiotic origin theory and therefore are not looking in the right places (the proponents maintain). So, it's no wonder their output is declining, if you accept the deep origin idea. (2) The other question posed is who stands to gain from maintaining an obsolete theory of oil formation and constant oil shortages?  Answer: The same groups who are not looking for abiotic Oil.  Mageru's comment about the speed of production of new oil or the commercial viability of abiotic oil are legitimate criticisms that have been raised, and good answers can only be realized with research and time.

The downside of unlimited oil would be an unbearable continuation of trends as we see them now. More cars, more pollution, more urban sprawl, global warming, etc, etc.  

 

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 02:51:51 PM EST
I can't see how it can be in the interest of the oil majors to run out of oil. I really can't.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 03:08:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the trick would be to always just run close to empty, always finding a new source just in time.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 09:31:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is true even from a theoretical economics standpoint, but it is certainly false for two reasons:

  1. At a certain profit level governments of the nations oil companies are based in will seize their profits as was threatened by the US government this year (in states where the oil companies aren't already nationalised, anyway).

  2. As the price of oil increases it becomes increasingly tempting for governments of oil producing states to seize assets of foreign oil companies (or nationalise internal privately held producers) as has happened this year in Venezuala and Bolivia. When oil was at $10 a barrel in 1999 this wouldn't have made sense and would have been a loss for governments doing the seizing.

This isn't lost on oil companies, and they will do anything to prevent it from happening. Since oil is the basis of our civilization, it can only be a commodity in the same sense as, say, orange juice when supply can meet demand. If that were to cease being the case, oil would change from a commodity to a strategic asset, and corporate control of oil would end.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 12:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"If that were to cease being the case, oil would change from a commodity to a strategic asset, and corporate control of oil would end."

interesting thought

by fredouil (fredouil@gmailgmailgmail.com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 03:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what's happening. Energy is leaving the economic realm and going back into the political realm, which it should never have left in the first place as it has always been strategic.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 06:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hear, hear!

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 08:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see your point, but see jolado's diary "Peak Oil = Myth..."  One could also argue that the examples of Venezuela and Bolivia relate more to governments with particular socialist/nationalistic slants, not to say it couldn't happen elsewhere.  The other argument would be that multi-national oil companies are already effectively outside the control of most governments, including that of the US.  

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 02:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No company is outside government control as long as said companies do not have militaries.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 04:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Blackwater and friends?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 04:33:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well indeed, I didn't mean to imply that it doesn't exist. I also vaugely recall some discussion here a while back about mercenaries employed in Africa to protect oil assests. It's a worrying trend but not a primary theme of control in the big picture quite yet.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 05:24:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok. Full disclosure: Although my background is in geology, I've consciously shunned to be funnelled into the oil industry. Hence, it's more a dish on the side for me.

The question regarding Peak Oil is better answered by others, so I won't go there. I'm sympathetic toward your arguments, but it has been abundantly argued here that the (biotic) oil reserve has seen its peak.

Nevertheless. Although contrarian views is what science needs, I've already some serious problems with a number of Dr. Gold's exclamations.

First: Hydrocarbon gas clouds on other planets isn't oil. That they can form there is a non-argument to me that abiotic oil can form here.

Second:


The official theory of the development of coal will not accept that reality, since human beings were not around when anthracite coal was formed.

This story is also run by creationist Ed Conrad and is wholly debunked by now. Last I knew, it was far from certain that the found "skull" was even bone. Eat your heart out here.

"The coal we dig is hard, brittle stuff. It was once a liquid, because we find embedded in the middle of a six-foot seam of coal such things as a delicate wing of some animal or a leaf of a plant. They are undestroyed, absolutely preserved; with every cell in that fossil filled with exactly the same coal as all the coal on the outside. A hard, brittle coal is not going to get into each cell of a delicate leaf without destroying it. So obviously that stuff was a thin liquid at one time which gradually hardened."

Yes, because it was a thick bog from decomposing organic materials? Occam's Razor anyone?

The theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins is not a vague, qualitative hypothesis, but stands as a rigorous analytic theory within the mainstream of the modern physical sciences.

Oh? But I was never even educated on it, while my alma mater had a certain reputation to keep up. But everyone has its flaws, of course.

So if abiotic hydrocarbons are from another source, where does it come from and how is it able to concentrate so locally? Can Gold offer a mechanism of its deposition and localisation? And how is it possible that there hasn't been found any distinctive criteria between biotic and abiotic oil?

So, in short, I highly doubt Gold's position. For the benefit of the planet, I hope he's wrong, too.

by Nomad on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 04:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The instructive wikipedia entry on abiotic oil reports that Gold died in 2004. How can he still be interviewed in 2006?

But I certainly learned something new, Gringo. It seems I asked the wrong question: the discussion shouldn't be about whether abiotic oil is possible, but on what scale abiotic oil is possible. Still, colour me largely sceptical on large scale abiotic oil production.

by Nomad on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 05:28:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Dr. Gold quotes in the current (Sep 5, 2006) article were from his 1999 book. I don't recall any other sources with live interviews past 2004.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 09:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate all of your comments.  Like I said, I know very little about the subject, but I can read and it was interesting. I had a minor in Geology and that's it.  I was taught that oil was of organic origin, period.  Now, I'm beginning to doubt that, but as far a renewable, almost limitless supply of oil, well I am skeptical too.  The literature that I've seen does offer some technical evidence and there could be more, but I'm not the best person to judge.  I try to keep an open mind about everything and am very careful not to get caught up in group think.  Call me a "doubting Thomas," or just call me the last to accept the truth.


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Sep 6th, 2006 at 09:28:55 PM EST
I'm trying to imagine large hydrocarbon molecules surviving center of the earth conditions with great difficulty.

Keep in mind the data points we do have of stuff flowing out of the earth's mantle.  Lava.....  Never seen a crude oil volcano.

pretty amusing that if everyone is looking in the wrong places in the US for the new seepage, why couldn't he find someone to drill in the right places?  Wildcatters will try anything once.

by HiD on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 06:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He did convince a bunch of Swedes to put up cash for drilling around the lake Siljan in the eighties. The project is described in the informative and very entertaining The Golem at large - What You Should Know about Technology which I highly recomend. Good insights in the relationships between science and technology.

To make a long story short, the project might have found some oil and it might not, but anyway there was nowhere near enough for commercial exploitation when the investors patience ran out.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 07:47:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's good to read up on these things, so that's why I really appreciate your diary. Gold also had some serious articles published without the poor arguments Bainerman's piece highlighted. I can try to get hold of them, if you're interested.

So yes who knows: maybe abiotic oil is possible - but I highly doubt it occurs in the quantities Gold predicts. Yet repainting biotic oil into abiotic oil is rather ludicrous - never a good way to introduce your theory by beginning with "everything you believe is false!".

by Nomad on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 08:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am, thanks.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 02:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can I reach you?
by Nomad on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 04:01:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, one of my email addresses is now posted. Been meaning to do that for a while.  Thanks

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Sep 8th, 2006 at 08:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are at least two physical-chemical tests that prove that nearly all of the oil that has been commercially exploited to date has a biological origin:
  • isotopic profiles match those of decayed biological materials grown on the surface of the earth,
  • isomery of carbons in the C-strings of oil are largely dextrogyrous, just like in the proteins of living animals, which have amplified and maintained an original asymmetry whose origin is unknowns, but which doesn't exist in non-biologic chemistry.


I can certainly understand that some deep geological formations could yield hydrocarbons of non-biological origin, and we may someday find them and be able to recognize them for what they are. But it has just not happened yet, all those who have claimed so were just lying for reasons of dishonesty or ideological antagonism (remember Lyssenko ?).

This fact alone doesn't bode well for the business prospect of abiotic oil, not to mention as a savior of mankind !

Also, biotic oil is already hard to retrieve at the depths where we still have some. Deep crust abiotic oil would be even harder to locate and extract, making shale oil and the likes a piece of cake...

Pierre
by Pierre on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 10:38:35 AM EST
I have looked at some additional sources on the subject, and it appears to me that there has been an honest scientific debate going on about this for some time (also a lot of name calling- what's new).  I found one source that says some Russian scientists accused Dr. Gold of plagerizing and misinterpreting their work.   There are some interesting details on the chemical makeup of oil and the isotopic evidence Pierre references above.  But the abiotic group claims the actual evidence supports their theory. See some of both sides of the argument in quotes below from reference (honest debate) linked above. This is really "deep", no pun intended.

Migration also explains another commonly offered piece of evidence for organic petroleum, depletion of the carbon 13C isotope, according to Gold.

Photosynthesis and other organic activity favor the stable 12C isotope over the stable 13C isotope. The resulting 13C deficiency is taken as an indicator of organic processes.

Petroleum shows the 13C depletion to an even greater degree than its supposed organic source matter, but in a ratio similar to that of the lipid fractions of those organisms.

Gold theorizes that carbon-bearing molecules diffusing through a porous mass, in any process, results in fractionation that favors the lighter 13C isotope.

"Biology is not a nuclear reactor. It can't make carbon-13 or carbon-12. But it's treated in the literature that the 12C-13C preference is strictly a plant matter," Gold said. "It's quite clear that there is an isotopic fractionation occurring in the migration path."

More evidence of upward hydrocarbon migration from great depth comes from the prevalent occurrence of helium with petroleum, Gold said.

"We have two conflicting pieces of evidence. Petroleum contains helium, which the plants cannot have concentrated," he said. "Petroleum also contains purely biological molecules, which petroleum-fed biology deep in the ground could concentrate.

"This (upward migration from great depth) is the only explanation I've ever heard of to account for the amount of helium brought up with petroleum."

Petroleum explorationists have good reason to care about the true origin of hydrocarbons, Gold noted.

"For one thing, they always avoid drilling into the basement rock," he said. "They've probably avoided drilling into a large amount of very productive rock."

Conversely, the pro-biogenic camp can look to this study, from the same article:

A new perspective on isotopic analysis of abiogenic hydrocarbons appeared in a letter to Nature magazine in April 2002, "Abiogenic formation of alkanes in the Earth's crust as a minor source for global hydrocarbon reservoirs."

Barbara Sherwood Lollar and four co-authors from the Stable Isotope Laboratory at the University of Toronto reported their analysis of gas from the Kidd Creek mine in Ontario, typical of hard rock mines operating throughout the Canadian Shield.

"These gases had been known historically in the mines for a very long period, up to 100 years, but nobody had investigated them until the 1980s. In Precambrian rock, it's not intuitively obvious where these hydrocarbons come from," said Sherwood Lollar, a professor of geology at the university.

According to the authors, the Kid Creek gases were composed of methane, ethane, H2 and N2, with minor concentrations of helium, propane and butane.

"We knew that these were unusual in composition. They don't look like thermogenic. They don't look like microbial," Sherwood Lollar said.

An unusual pattern of d13C values among C1-C4 alkanes provided evidence of abiogenic formation. Additional support came from study of d2H values.

"The inverse relationship of 13C isotope depletion and2H isotope enrichment between C1 and C2 for the Kidd Creek samples supports a polymerization reaction as the first step in the creation" of higher hydrocarbons, the authors concluded.

Because the isotopic signature differed markedly from that of thermogenic or bacteriogenic hydrocarbons, Sherwood Lollar theorized an origin in water-rock interactions.

"The gases are found intimately associated with these saline groundwaters and brines, with up to 10 times the saline content of oceans," she said.

Identification of the 13C-2H inverse relationship in abiogenic gas allowed comparison with isotopic ratios in commercial gas reservoirs. The study found no meaningful presence of abiogenic hydrocarbons in commercial natural gas production.

"Based on the isotopic characteristics of abiogenic gases identified in this study, the ubiquitous positive correlation of d13C and d2H values for C1-C4 hydrocarbons in economic reservoirs worldwide is not consistent with any significant contribution from abiogenic gas," the authors said.

"The key point is that abiogenic hydrocarbons have been talked about for a long time, but until now we didn't have a very good constraint on what they looked like," Sherwood Lollar observed.

Katz said Western science recognizes that abiogenic hydrocarbons can result from natural processes, including the possibility of hydrocarbons originating at great depth.

"I don't think anybody's arguing that gas couldn't be generated from the mantle," he said.

However, even the Russian scientists he has worked with accept the organic origin of petroleum found in large, commercial accumulations.

"I've worked with geochemists and basin modelers at what was the Soviet Union's Institute for Foreign Geologic Studies. They were working with the same concepts we were," he said.

If abiogenic petroleum exists in amounts large enough for economic production, he hopes details of the science involved will be presented at the London Hedberg .

"I have yet to have anyone show me that there are commercial quantities of these hydrocarbons," Katz said.



I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 01:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not quite so impressive. This is why I prefer scientific articles. Again, it would've helped if Gold wasn't so virulently on a crusade denying that biologic crude can't be biological.


Petroleum shows the 13C depletion to an even greater degree than its supposed organic source matter, but in a ratio similar to that of the lipid fractions of those organisms.

Gold theorizes that carbon-bearing molecules diffusing through a porous mass, in any process, results in fractionation that favors the lighter 13C isotope.

"Biology is not a nuclear reactor. It can't make carbon-13 or carbon-12. But it's treated in the literature that the 12C-13C preference is strictly a plant matter," Gold said. "It's quite clear that there is an isotopic fractionation occurring in the migration path."

Bing! Try again. This is so blatantly fraudulent, it's shameful. Biological processes perform exactly what Gold tries to deny here: isotopic fractionation. But Gold puts his money on a migrationary fractionation - which yes, is all too common in petrologic (note: that has nothing to do with petroleum!) processes, such as magma differentiation. But the role of biological processes in C12-C13 fractionation is indisputable. He really missed out on Occam.

by Nomad on Thu Sep 7th, 2006 at 03:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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