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Old 03-28-2017, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, PA
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I am not being snarky. I really want to know the basis for this conventional wisdom. Why is it considered "settled?" Are we supposed to shut up about this too? If the theory didn't exist and somebody came up with it, would it be believable? Just how many tons of meat do you need to make billions and billions of barrels of oil with no end in sight?

Last edited by HappyRider; 03-28-2017 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 03-28-2017, 10:09 PM
 
Location: 60630
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im confused
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
Just how many tons of meat do you need to make billions and billions of barrels of oil with no end in sight?
It's only partially true, oil is not just dinosaur "meat" oil is made of hydrocarbons which comes from the breakdown of lots of organic material, including plants all compressed down over millions of years under the right conditions. You can get food oils of all kinds by pressing, you can get oil from olives, nuts, corn etc., so why would you not think it's also possible to get fuel oil from weeds and other plant matter?

There's about as much dinosaur "meat" in oil as there is arsenic in your drinking water, it's in there, but so are grasses, weeds, plants, flowers, vegetation, marine life of all kinds and so much more.

Petroleum is believed by most scientists to be the transformed remains of long dead organisms. The majority of petroleum is thought to come from the fossils of plants and tiny marine organisms. Larger animals might contribute to the mix as well.
"Even some of the dinosaurs may have gotten involved in some of this," says William Thomas, a geologists at the University of Kentucky. "Although I think it would be quite rare and a very small and insignificant contribution."


In the leading theory, dead organic material accumulates on the bottom of oceans, riverbeds or swamps, mixing with mud and sand. Over time, more sediment piles on top and the resulting heat and pressure transforms the organic layer into a dark and waxy substance known as kerogen.
Left alone, the kerogen molecules eventually crack, breaking up into shorter and lighter molecules composed almost solely of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Depending on how liquid or gaseous this mixture is, it will turn into either petroleum or natural gas.
So how long does this process take?
Scientists aren't really sure, but they figure it's probably on the order of hundreds of thousands of years."
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Old 03-29-2017, 01:45 AM
 
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For someone to believe oil solely comes from dinosaurs their science education must have stopped around the 3rd grade. Where that thought is more interesting to students than just generic organic material.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Gettysburg, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
I am not being snarky. I really want to know the basis for this conventional wisdom. Why is it considered "settled?" Are we supposed to shut up about this too? If the theory didn't exist and somebody came up with it, would it be believable?
No, some people just want to believe so bad in the sanctity of science; they don't realize that time after time things that were considered "proven" (or thought to be so true by the masses that if you didn't believe it--evolution comes to mind--you were considered to be either a backward-thinking person or just plain crazy) time has later shown to apparently not be true (at least by the new scientific theory that's going about). What they don't seem to consider is that history repeats itself. At one time, you were thought to be crazy if you didn't think the world was flat. Some people were even put to death for that belief. Many may say that that was a backward time we lived in, but I would have hoped that science was not thought to be such a new concept. Of course I would have been disappointed if I were to think that.
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Old 03-29-2017, 06:42 AM
Status: "It is the nature of grotesque things you can’t look away" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
I am not being snarky. I really want to know the basis for this conventional wisdom. Why is it considered "settled?" Are we supposed to shut up about this too? If the theory didn't exist and somebody came up with it, would it be believable? Just how many tons of meat do you need to make billions and billions of barrels of oil with no end in sight?
My word. You went to school where?

The standard theory is the biogenic one - oil forms when layers of once-living organic material (including, but hardly limited to, the remains of dinosaurs) is buried and then subjected to heat and pressure in the absence of oxygen. This theory is about 250 years old, and is well-supported. Just about all of the oil (and coal and natural gas) we exploit today seems to have been formed from organic materials this way. Here's a decent plain-English explanation - How Does Oil Form?

More recently, some scientists have proposed that oil could also be formed without once-living materials - an abiogenic process. I don't know much about these ideas, but find them intriguing. I could not find a decent, plain-English explanation.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:05 AM
 
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I believe there is no conclusive refutation of abiotic theory of oil formation. Google abiotic oil.
The abyssal, abiotic theory of oil formation continues to receive attention due to the work of retired Cornell astronomy professor Thomas Gold, known for several theories that were initially dismissed but eventually proven true, including the existence of neutron stars. He has also been wrong, however; he was a proponent of the “steady state” theory of the universe, which has since been discarded for the “Big Bang” theory. Gold’s theory of oil formation, which he expounded in a book entitled The Deep Hot Biosphere, is that hydrogen and carbon, under high temperatures and pressures found in the mantle during the formation of the Earth, form hydrocarbon molecules which have gradually leaked up to the surface through cracks in rocks. The organic materials which are found in petroleum deposits are easily explained by the metabolism of bacteria which have been found in extreme environments similar to Earth’s mantle. These hyperthermophiles, or bacteria which thrive in extreme environments, have been found in hydrothermal vents, at the bottom of volcanoes, and in places where scientists formerly believed life was not possible. Gold argues that the mantle contains vast numbers of these bacteria.

The abiogenic origin of petroleum deposits would explain some phenomena that are not currently understood, such as why petroleum deposits almost always contain biologically inert helium
.
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Old 03-29-2017, 07:19 AM
Status: "It is the nature of grotesque things you can’t look away" (set 26 days ago)
 
Location: Old Hippie Heaven
17,987 posts, read 8,112,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RememberMee View Post
I believe there is no conclusive refutation of abiotic theory of oil formation. Google abiotic oil.
The abyssal, abiotic theory of oil formation continues to receive attention due to the work of retired Cornell astronomy professor Thomas Gold, known for several theories that were initially dismissed but eventually proven true, including the existence of neutron stars. He has also been wrong, however; he was a proponent of the “steady state” theory of the universe, which has since been discarded for the “Big Bang” theory. Gold’s theory of oil formation, which he expounded in a book entitled The Deep Hot Biosphere, is that hydrogen and carbon, under high temperatures and pressures found in the mantle during the formation of the Earth, form hydrocarbon molecules which have gradually leaked up to the surface through cracks in rocks. The organic materials which are found in petroleum deposits are easily explained by the metabolism of bacteria which have been found in extreme environments similar to Earth’s mantle. These hyperthermophiles, or bacteria which thrive in extreme environments, have been found in hydrothermal vents, at the bottom of volcanoes, and in places where scientists formerly believed life was not possible. Gold argues that the mantle contains vast numbers of these bacteria.

The abiogenic origin of petroleum deposits would explain some phenomena that are not currently understood, such as why petroleum deposits almost always contain biologically inert helium
.
The biggest problem I have with the abiotic theory is that seeping up seems very problematic to me, fractures or no fractures. And the animal and plant remains found in coal can't be explained by later bacterial action.

So while abiogenic formation is interesting, and certainly seems possible, I'm not ready to abandon the biogenic theory just yet.
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Old 03-29-2017, 09:26 AM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley
509 posts, read 295,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
I am not being snarky. I really want to know the basis for this conventional wisdom. Why is it considered "settled?" Are we supposed to shut up about this too? If the theory didn't exist and somebody came up with it, would it be believable? Just how many tons of meat do you need to make billions and billions of barrels of oil with no end in sight?
I am confused by your post.

The basis for this "conventional wisdom" is known, observable, scientific fact. Organic matter (animals, plants, people) decomposes, which releases carbon, which is subjected to heat and pressure from becoming buried in the earth, which transforms it to oil or natural gas. Most oil we get isn't actually from dinosaurs, although they make up some of it. Much of it comes from sea-dwelling bio-organisms that long predate the dinosaurs. It's easy to look this up; many oil companies helpfully outline the process on their webpages.

If I may toss in a personal anecdote. I don't know if you have ever worked around dead bodies a lot, or have had occasion to exhume them from graves (most people haven't, but I have). A rotting dead body smells like meat gone bad in an unplugged refrigerator (which is, after all, what it is). However an opened grave containing an unembalmed corpse lacks that rotten smell, but gives off a noticeable petroleum-like odor. But enough about that, it may not be relevant anyway)

I don't understand why you think you need to "shut up" about it, or what your "too" refers to. Feel free to show us the results of your own research; if you have another way to make oil, you'll get rich! However, I do get frustrated by this new "everything science says is just made up theories" mindset that has now infected half of the American population. It is like watching the Enlightenment in reverse. I never dreamed I'd see the day when people completely reject science itself in favor of all kinds of wacky ideas. It reminds me of the Taliban, in some ways.

People don't just "dream up" wacky theories in science. Scientific method is based on previously observable phenomenon and then builds on it. That which is testable is not "theory". The Big Bang is a "theory", although there is a lot of circumstantial and indirect evidence suggesting it is probably true. How oil is formed is not a theory; it is a fact.

As for how much meat you would need, well to make unlimited oil, you would need unlimited meat, wouldn't you? You'd also need millions of years. However, plants will do as well; where do you think ethanol and biodiesel comes from? It is all about transforming energy in an organic source into another form of energy. It happens naturally, or it can be induced in a laboratory or refinery.
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
9,608 posts, read 9,804,618 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
I am not being snarky. I really want to know the basis for this conventional wisdom. Why is it considered "settled?" Are we supposed to shut up about this too? If the theory didn't exist and somebody came up with it, would it be believable? Just how many tons of meat do you need to make billions and billions of barrels of oil with no end in sight?
Maybe you aren't being snarky, but neither are you being helpful. Since you scoff at the accepted theory of oil generation, you might enlighten us then, on what you think is a better, more rational theory. "No end in sight". Hmmm. A casual observation of the state of the fossil fuel industry, from the earliest known discoveries in the plains of the continental U.S. to the current deep water oil mining projects off the continental shelf, do not suggest to this writer that there "is no end in sight". Oil was ladled out of wells at the turn of the Century, and oil companies became the richest, most profitable entities on earth during the salad days of the oil boom. The cost of a deep water drilling rig is considerable, and the oil harvested using one cannot have the same net worth as legacy oil product that was simply ladled up and transported to refineries. The only reason we still use oil as a primary energy source is because wealthy beyond belief oil companies can pour investor money into exploration projects and exploit niche sources of low quality crude like tar sands, shale rock. Nope. Oil has a finite supply and there is a finite amount of time humanity can use it cheaply. Oil companies don't want you to know that or, to think that, because that will scare off investment.
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