[extropy-chat] Deep-earth methane generation

Terry W. Colvin fortean1 at mindspring.com
Thu Apr 28 03:17:21 UTC 2005

Forwarding permission was given by William R. Corliss

< http://www.science-frontiers.com >

SCIENCE FRONTIERS, No. 159, May-Jun 2005, p. 4


Deep-earth methane generation

For many years before his death in June 2004, T. Gold was a world-class
iconoclast.  One of his most contentious assertions made the earth a 
still functioning generator of abiotic methane and petroleum, which could
keep those big SUVs operating forever!  (SF#114)

Few question that *most* of our natural gas and oil wells discharge the 
products of buried plant life.  Gold did!  But he asserted that these 
hydrocarbons only *seem* biogenic because they are contaminated by a 
bacterial kingdom located 12 miles and more deep.  This heretical model 
was not
well-received despite the successes of Gold's previous bold contentions in
astronomy and other fields.

Nevertheless, some feature of Gold's subsurface kingdom are being confirmed.

* A large population of subsurface bacteria does exist.

* Some methane gas sources are certainly *not* of biological origin.

The latest support for Gold comes from experiments by H. Scot, Indiana
University, who subjected water and marble to the environment expected
at depths of 12 miles and more.  Sure enough, the water's hydrogen combined
with the marble's carbon to form methane (CH4).

Such abiotic processes could provide us with "fossil" fuels for millennia.

(Wade, Nicholas; "Petroleum from Decay? Maybe Not, Study Says,"
New York *Times*, September 14, 2004.  Cr. D. Phelps)

*Comments*.  ESC16 in our catalog *Anomalies in Geology*, elaborates on
11 anomalies associated with methane's origin.  Three of these are:

* The extraordinary quantities of methane hydrate present in offshore

* The emission of methane during earthquakes.

* The energy contents of tsunamis require the addition of explosive
   decomposition of offshore, buried methane hydrate during quakes.
   In other words, landslides and stratum shifts are inadequate.

SCIENCE FRONTIERS is a bimonthly collection of scientific anomalies in
the current literature.  Published by the Sourcebook Project, P.O. Box 107,
Glen Arm, MD 21057 USA.  Annual subscription: $8.00.

"Only a zit on the wart on the heinie of progress." Copyright 1992, Frank Rice

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA) < fortean1 at mindspring.com >
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