Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Historic planetary instability and catastrophe. Evidence for electrical scarring on planets and moons. Electrical events in today's solar system. Electric Earth.

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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby moonkoon » Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:13 am

Re the chapter on "Carbon in the Core, Bin Chen and Jie Li"

... iron carbide, Fe7C3, provides a good match for the density and sound velocities of Earth's inner core under the relevant conditions.

... seismic waves called S waves travel through the inner core at about half the speed expected for most iron-rich alloys under relevant pressures.

Some researchers have attributed the S-wave velocities to the presence of liquid, calling into question the solidity of the inner core. In recent years, the presence of various light elements—including sulfur, carbon, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen—has been proposed to account for the density deficit of Earth's core.

... "This model challenges the conventional view that the Earth is highly depleted in carbon ...

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22547- ... l-suggests

Note that this iron carbide model is just that, ...a model. The modelers acknowledge that it is provocative and speculative.
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:31 pm

moonkoon wrote:Re the chapter on "Carbon in the Core, Bin Chen and Jie Li"

... iron carbide, Fe7C3, provides a good match for the density and sound velocities of Earth's inner core under the relevant conditions.

... seismic waves called S waves travel through the inner core at about half the speed expected for most iron-rich alloys under relevant pressures.

Some researchers have attributed the S-wave velocities to the presence of liquid, calling into question the solidity of the inner core. In recent years, the presence of various light elements—including sulfur, carbon, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen—has been proposed to account for the density deficit of Earth's core.

... "This model challenges the conventional view that the Earth is highly depleted in carbon ...

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22547- ... l-suggests

Note that this iron carbide model is just that, ...a model. The modelers acknowledge that it is provocative and speculative.


That paper's mention of Diamond Anvil pressure to replicate deep Earth pressure reminded me of this paper. Some Chinese researchers found strange elements under a Diamond Anvil that are not ordinary.

Salt is not what we thought
http://milesmathis.com/salt.pdf
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:13 pm

There’s Mysteriously Large Amounts of Methane on Mars

Posted By Sushil K. Atreya & Christopher R. Webster on Mar 26, 2017

If you want to detect life on another planet, look for biomarkers—spectroscopic signatures of chemicals that betray the activity of living things. And in fact we may have already found a biomarker. In 2003 Earth-based astronomers caught glimpses of methane in the Martian atmosphere. The discovery was initially controversial, so much so that the discoverers themselves held back from publishing it. But the two of us and our colleagues recently confirmed the presence of methane using NASA’s Curiosity rover. It is the most tangible evidence we have ever collected that we may not be alone in the universe.

Almost no matter where the methane comes from, it’s an intriguing discovery. If you dropped a molecule of methane into the atmosphere of Mars, it would survive about 300 years—that’s how long, on average, it would take for solar ultraviolet radiation and other Martian gases to destroy the molecule. By rights, the Martian atmosphere should have been scrubbed of its methane eons ago. So, the methane we see must come either from a source that is producing methane today or from a subsurface reservoir that is venting methane produced sometime in the past. On Earth, 95 percent of methane is biological in origin. The class of bacteria known as methanogens feeds on organic matter and excretes methane. They populate our planet’s wetlands, which account for nearly a quarter of the methane present in the Earth’s atmosphere globally. Cows’ gut bacteria are the second largest producers. It is the possibility of microbial life that has propelled the search for methane on Mars.

But even if the methane there comes from geologic processes, it would give us a profound new respect for what looks outwardly like a geologically dead world. Methane can be produced by the geochemical process of serpentinization, which is widespread in Earth’s crust, especially at warm and hot hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor known as Lost City and Black Smokers. This process requires a source of geologic heat as well as liquid water. Those happen to be two main ingredients of life, as well.

Mars is indeed active and has the potential of harboring past or present microbial life.

The Arabia Terra region was the site of methane detected by the Mars Express spacecraft in 2004.Photograph by NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The mystery isn’t just that we see methane when we shouldn’t. It’s also that, in a sense, we see too much of it. The Mars methane abundance varies dramatically in location and time, implying not only an unknown source, but also an unknown sink. The variation was evident in the very first detections from telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, reported by NASA astronomer Michael Mumma at a meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences in 2003. The following year, Vittorio Formisano of the Institute for Interplanetary Space Physics in Rome and his team (including one of us, Atreya) published findings from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. Like Mumma, Formisano’s team observed variations in methane abundance, although the values measured from Mars Express were much lower, about 15 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) global average. By comparison, the methane abundance on Earth is 1875 ppbv. (Gas concentrations are commonly measured by the volume a gas occupies, as opposed to its mass.)

Both sets of observations sought the infrared spectral fingerprint of methane in sunlight reflected from the Martian atmosphere. The ground-based telescopic observations looked out through Earth’s own air, which also contains methane, so the analysis had to separate the Martian and terrestrial methane signals. Although the orbital data did not suffer from this problem, they had their own confounding factors, such as the presence of other gases with overlapping spectral lines in the same region. Both teams were very careful, but their observations remain controversial to this day.

To resolve the issue, NASA decided in 2004 to dedicate an instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory mission (with its rover, Curiosity) to the methane question. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument package, built and operated by a team led by Paul Mahaffy of NASA, included a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS). The TLS performs an in-situ measurement of methane in a well-defined atmospheric volume of known temperature and pressure. The instrument first ingests Martian air into a cell about the size of a coffee cup. Then it fires an infrared laser into the gas to see how much light is absorbed. The laser scans across wavelengths to look for the distinctive fingerprint of methane and other gases. On its own, the TLS can measure methane to within about 2 ppbv. To achieve even higher sensitivities, SAM flows the ingested gas slowly over a compound that scrubs out the dominant carbon dioxide gas, thereby enriching the methane signals, and reducing the measurement uncertainty to about 0.1 ppbv. On Earth, the TLS technique has been used since the 1980s and produced the first airborne measurements of chlorine reservoirs in the ozone hole, the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio in cirrus clouds, and methane measurements at numerous locations.
(more at link)
http://nautil.us/blog/theres-mysterious ... ne-on-mars
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:20 pm

NASA's finds on Titan with another flyby coming up next week:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cass ... 80213.html
Titan's Surface Organics Surpass Oil Reserves on Earth
Saturn's orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, according to new data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.

The new findings from the study led by Ralph Lorenz, Cassini radar team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., are reported in the Jan. 29 issue of the Geophysical Research Letters.

"Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material -- it's a giant factory of organic chemicals," said Lorenz. "This vast carbon inventory is an important window into the geology and climate history of Titan."

At a balmy minus 179 degrees Celsius (minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit), Titan is a far cry from Earth. Instead of water, liquid hydrocarbons in the form of methane and ethane are present on the moon's surface, and tholins probably make up its dunes. The term "tholins"was coined by Carl Sagan in 1979 to describe the complex organic molecules at the heart of prebiotic chemistry.

Cassini has mapped about 20 percent of Titan's surface with radar. Several hundred lakes and seas have been observed, with each of several dozen estimated to contain more hydrocarbon liquid than Earth's oil and gas reserves. The dark dunes that run along the equator contain a volume of organics several hundred times larger than Earth's coal reserves.

Proven reserves of natural gas on Earth total 130 billion tons, enough to provide 300 times the amount of energy the entire United States uses annually for residential heating, cooling and lighting. Dozens of Titan's lakes individually have the equivalent of at least this much energy in the form of methane and ethane.
...

April 26, 2016
Cassini Explores a Methane Sea on Titan
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/cassin ... a-on-titan

Of the hundreds of moons in our solar system, Titan is the only one with a dense atmosphere and large liquid reservoirs on its surface, making it in some ways more like a terrestrial planet.

Both Earth and Titan have nitrogen-dominated atmospheres -- over 95 percent nitrogen in Titan's case. However, unlike Earth, Titan has very little oxygen; the rest of the atmosphere is mostly methane and trace amounts of other gases, including ethane. And at the frigid temperatures found at Saturn's great distance from the sun, the methane and ethane can exist on the surface in liquid form.

For this reason, scientists had long speculated about the possible existence of hydrocarbon lakes and seas on Titan, and data from the NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens mission does not disappoint. Since arriving in the Saturn system in 2004, the Cassini spacecraft has revealed that more than 620,000 square miles (1.6 million square kilometers) of Titan's surface -- almost two percent of the total -- are covered in liquid.

There are three large seas, all located close to the moon's north pole, surrounded by numerous of smaller lakes in the northern hemisphere. Just one large lake has been found in the southern hemisphere.

The exact composition of these liquid reservoirs remained elusive until 2014, when the Cassini radar instrument was first used to show that Ligeia Mare, the second largest sea on Titan and similar in size to Lake Huron and Lake Michigan combined, is methane-rich. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, which used the radar instrument in a different mode, independently confirms this result.

"Before Cassini, we expected to find that Ligeia Mare would be mostly made up of ethane, which is produced in abundance in the atmosphere when sunlight breaks methane molecules apart. Instead, this sea is predominantly made of pure methane," said Alice Le Gall, a Cassini radar team associate at the French research laboratory LATMOS, Paris, and lead author of the new study.
...
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/experi ... h-nitrogen

March 15, 2017
Experiments Show Titan Lakes May Fizz with Nitrogen

While the thought of hydrocarbon lakes bubbling with nitrogen on an alien moon is dramatic, Malaska points out that the movement of nitrogen on Titan doesn't just move in one direction. Clearly, it has to get into the methane and ethane before it can get out.

"In effect, it's as though the lakes of Titan breathe nitrogen," Malaska said. "As they cool, they can absorb more of the gas, 'inhaling.' And as they warm, the liquid's capacity is reduced, so they 'exhale.'"

A similar phenomenon occurs on Earth with carbon dioxide absorption by our planet's oceans.

Results of the study were published online in February by the journal Icarus.

Final Titan Flyby Nears

Cassini will make its final close flyby of Titan -- its 127th targeted encounter -- on April 22. During the flyby, Cassini will sweep its radar beam over Titan's northern seas one final time. The radar team designed the upcoming observation so that, if magic island features are present this time, their brightness may be useful for distinguishing between bubbles, waves and floating or suspended solids.

The flyby also will bend the spacecraft's course to begin its final series of 22 plunges through the gap between Saturn and its innermost rings, known as Cassini's Grand Finale. The 20-year mission will conclude with a dive into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Thu May 18, 2017 9:32 pm

Ancient rivers show lack of plate tectonics on Mars and Titan

19 May 2017

Unlike the topography of Earth, that of Mars and Titan was largely created by planet-wide processes such as thermal expansion, writes Andrew Masterson.

A radar image of Ligea Mare, a large hydrocarbon sea on Titan, and the rivers that drain into it.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI

River system patterns indicate that plate tectonics exerts a greater influence on landscape on Earth than it does on Mars or Saturn’s moon Titan.

The processes that created the topography of Titan and Mars are not well understood, so a team led by Benjamin Black from the City University of New York set out to see if ancient river networks visible on each might yield some clues.

In a study published in the journal Science, the team reports that drainage systems on Earth are influenced by a shorter “wavelength” of planetary activity than those of the other two bodies.

River systems – ancient or active – are informative when analysing topography, Black and colleagues explain, because their layout indicates whether they formed at the same time as the dominant topography, or later.

A process such as thermal expansion affects the entire surface area of a planet, or moon, and creates a topography known as a “long wavelength”. Black’s team found that the river systems visible on both Mars and Titan conformed to these long-wavelength patterns.

In the case of Mars, the team concluded, the river system were likely created before the later formation of valleys, and the craters created by the Noachian-Hesperian bombardment, a period of intense asteroid and meteorite impacts, around 4100 to 3700 million years ago.

The long-wavelength features on Titan, by contrast, are assumed to be comparatively recent, the result of moon-wide adjustments caused by shell-thickness variations arising from tidal heating or thermal expansion and contraction.
(more at link...)
https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/ancien ... -and-titan
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Thu May 18, 2017 9:34 pm

Geologists solve the mystery of what tectonic plates float on

16 February 2015
Scientists use dynamite to shake the truth out of the Earth's underbelly. Cathal O'Connell reports.


New research shows a lubricating jelly layer beneath the tectonic plates that allows them to slide. – Dorling

Any geologist will tell you the Earth’s crust is broken into tectonic plates that “float” around like gigantic rafts. But just what these rafts have been floating upon, has been a mystery – until now.

A team of New Zealand scientists detonated tons of dynamite and listened for echoes to reveal the underbelly of the Pacific plate. They found a 10 kilometre thick channel of lubricating jelly-like rock, which they say allows the plate to slide above it, according to a report in Nature.

German meteorologist Alfred Wegener proposed the idea of rafting continents back in 1912 after perusing maps and noticing that the east coast of South America and the west coast of Africa would fit together like jigsaw pieces. But scientists only started taking the idea seriously in 1963 when geophysicists Fred Vine and Drummond Matthews showed that the crust on the ocean floor, on either side of the mid-oceanic ridges, was indeed moving.

These days plate tectonics is “obvious”, says Louis Moresi, a geologist at the University of Melbourne. “You can log on to Google Earth and actually plot the movement.”

The plates themselves are composed of a thick layer of hard rock known as the lithosphere that lies above a softer layer known as the asthenosphere. But no one knew what lay at the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary (LAB).

In the past geologists relied on earthquakes originating on the other side of the planet of the planet to try and find out. Like doctors placing a stethoscope to the Earth’s surface, they detected seismic waves.

The fact these waves move at different speeds through different layers allowed geologists to sketch a coarse picture of the medium through which they travelled. But natural seismic waves are 10-40 kilometres in length – too long to resolve the fine-grained structure below the plates. So the New Zealanders took matters into their own hands.

“Rather than relying on earthquake waves that come from below we create our own ‘earthquakes’ with dynamite shots,” says Tim Stern at Victoria University, Wellington, who led the project. The resulting waves are about 500 metres long and able to resolve finer structures. The blast zone was sited on the southern tip of New Zealand’s North Island where the 73-kilometre thick Pacific plate dips beneath the Australian plate at the rate of about 40 millimetres a year.

The team set up 877 Coke can-sized seismometers strung like beads along 85 kilometres. Then from multiple boreholes they detonated half a tonne of TNT in each.

The seismic echoes revealed something unusual stuck to the Pacific plate’s underbelly – a channel of jelly-like rock about 10 kilometres thick.

Researchers used blast waves to get a view of what lies beneath the Pacific plate as it dives below New Zealand’s North Island. At the base of the plate they found a 10 km thick jelly-like channel, the lithosphere asthenosphere boundary (LAB), which decouples it from the underlying asthenosphere. – Cosmos Magazine

“We always thought the boundary would be gradual and defined by temperature. This study shows it’s an abrupt transition and requires something more than temperature alone to explain it,” says geologist Andrew Gleadow, also at the University of Melbourne.

The New Zealand team suggests the jelly rock gains its consistency from a higher concentration of water or magma than is present in the lithosphere above it. But it would not have to be too high. While the lithosphere contains 0.1% magma, even a 2% concentration of magma might be enough to explain the consistency of the rock in the channel. “On a million-year time scale this would appear weak and jelly-like,” explains Stern.

The finding of the jelly channel might also help resolve a 50-year debate about whether the plates move as a result of being pushed or pulled. An early idea was that magma being extruded from the mid-oceanic ridges was pushing the plates apart. Another pushing force might come from slowly creeping convection currents beneath the plates that act like rollers beneath a conveyer belt.

On the other hand the major force might be a pulling one. As one edge of an oceanic plate dives back into the mantle beneath – as the Pacific one is doing – it pulls the rest of the slab after it. The finding of the jelly layer makes the pushing and rolling mechanisms less likely, says Gleadow. “If the plates are mechanically disconnected from the mantle below, there can’t be good coupling to underlying convection movements.”

On the other hand, the jelly layer adds weight to the idea that gravity is the driving force pulling the plates along. As one edge of the plate is being dragged under, the low friction jelly layer means the rest of the plate just slithers after it like a ski on snow.

The next question is how this channel was formed and if it is present all over the world, says Moresi. Evidence from previous studies hints at a similar structure beneath the coast of Norway and another off Costa Rica. If it is found everywhere, “it would change our understanding of the internal dynamics quite a lot”.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Finkel

This article appeared in Cosmos 63 - Jun-Jul 2015 under the headline "Geologists solve the mystery of what tectonic plates float on"
(more at link...)
https://cosmosmagazine.com/geoscience/g ... ates-float
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby sureshbansal342 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:17 am

We have created a new whatsapp group " TRUE ORIGIN HYDROCARBONS " . anyone interested to solve this pending mystery are welcome . pls whatsapp me +919814058342 or mail me at sureshbansal342@gmail.com
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:07 am

A massive lake of molten carbon the size of Mexico is discovered under the US, and it could cause climate CHAOS

- Situated under western US, 217 miles (350km) beneath the Earth's surface
- Scientists used world's largest array of seismic sensors to map area
- Melting carbon covers an area of 700,000 sq miles (1.8 million sq km)
- Upper mantle could contain up to 100 trillion metric tonnes of melted carbon
- Its discovery challenges what researchers have assumed about how much carbon is trapped inside the planet

By Tim Collins For Mailonline

Published: 12:50 BST, 15 February 2017 | Updated: 14:41 BST, 15 February 2017
A huge well of molten carbon that would spell disaster for the planet if released has been found under the US.

Scientists using the world's largest array of seismic sensors have mapped a deep-Earth area, covering 700,000 sq miles (1.8 million sq km).

This is around the size of Mexico, and researchers say it has the potential to cause untold environmental damage.

The discovery could change our understanding of how much carbon the Earth contains, suggesting it is much more than we previously believed.

It would be impossible to drill far enough down to physically 'see' the Earth's mantle, so a team of researchers used a massive group of sensors to paint a picture of it, using mathematical equations to interpret their results.

The study, conducted by geologists at Royal Holloway University in London, used a huge network of 583 seismic sensors that measure the Earth's vibrations, to create a picture of the area's deep sub surface.

Known as the upper mantle, this section of the Earth's interior is known for by its high temperatures where solid carbonates melt, creating distinctive seismic patterns.

What they found was a vast buried deposit of molten carbon, which produces carbon dioxide and other gases, situated under the Western US, 217 miles (350km) beneath the Earth's surface.

As a result of this study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, scientists now believe the amount of CO2 in the Earth's upper mantle may be up to 100 trillion metric tons.

In comparison, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates the global carbon emission in 2011 was nearly 10 billion metric tons – a tiny amount in comparison.

The deep carbon reservoir discovered will eventually make its way to the surface through volcanic eruptions and contribute to climate change albeit very slowly, but a sudden release could have dire consequences.

more at link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... gases.html
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:07 pm

Ancient Maps Are Unlocking The Secret To The World’s Hidden Oil Reserves
The former supercontinent of Pangaea holds the key to future oil discoveries.

By Adele Peters
2 minute Read

After decades of predictions that the world is close to peak oil, it’s pretty clear that isn’t true. Fracking, tar sands, and new offshore wells are all flowing freely. The oil industry continues to develop new exploration techniques–and one of the most popular right now is a little like putting together an ancient jigsaw puzzle.

A fascinating article from Quartz explains how oil companies are looking back 200 million years to Pangaea, the supercontinent that once made up all land on Earth. Brazil was once next to Nigeria; Washington, D.C., was once next to Western Sahara. And it turns out that if you discover oil somewhere–say, Ghana–there’s a very good chance that you’ll find more of it across the ocean in the spot that once was connected.
"Since oil had been found offshore from Morocco, it stood to reason, geologically speaking, that it must be present in Nova Scotia, too."

The Quartz article tells the story of the hunt for oil in Nova Scotia, where the government is desperate to climb out of ongoing economic depression–thanks in part to the fact that the province seemed to be running out of oil to drill. A local government official decided to do some new research based on the fact that offshore oil was discovered in Nova Scotia’s former neighbor, Morrocco.

Since oil had been found in the deep waters offshore from Morocco, MacMullin had heard from experts, it stood to reason, geologically speaking, that it must be present in Nova Scotia, too. The two were “analogs” of one another. By starting at the very birth of the conditions for the creation of hydrocarbons, they might locate Nova Scotia’s petroleum trove.

It’s not as simple as matching up continents on a map. Paleogeologists (aka “paleomagicians,” in the industry) also have to find more evidence that oil actually exists in a certain location. But starting with the puzzle of Pangaea has already led to several new discoveries: Oil in Brazil led to a new discovery in Angola, oil in Ghana led to a new discovery in French Guiana, and the list goes on.

In Nova Scotia, though the first new offshore well won’t be dug until later this year, the evidence is strong that there may be more oil deep at sea than in the entire province over the last half-century.

(more at link: https://www.fastcompany.com/3040542/anc ... l-reserves )

------------

THE ANALOGS
How one man’s wild geological treasure hunt could set off a new great oil boom
January 06, 2015

Written by
Steve LeVine

HALIFAX, Canada—In 2007, Sandy MacMullin was sitting across from his boss, a deputy minister in Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast. They had struck a windfall—enough natural gas royalties to pay $500 to every man, woman and child in the province, with cash to spare.

But MacMullin and all else in the room also knew what few outside it wanted to face: Such bonanzas were about to end. After a string of failures, the oil industry had declared the province dry. In just five years, gas production would begin to plunge, and soon after that there would be almost no royalties at all. Already deep in debt after the decline of the province’s lifeblood cod, lobster and timber businesses, Nova Scotia would be in trouble.

“I want a plan,” MacMullin’s boss said.

What followed was an extraordinary journey in which MacMullin, a burly native of the province with a broad grin and blow-dried hair, sought to prove the experts wrong. Nova Scotia’s salvation, he was convinced, lay in the same place it had been—its offshore oilfields. Although the old wells were declared to have dried up, there still had to be reserves in places people had overlooked.

Today, BP and Shell are embarked on a combined $2 billion in spending to explore Nova Scotia’s waters anew. What lured them back were the fruits of an exceptional geological treasure hunt, led by MacMullin, which yielded estimates of 8 billion barrels of oil offshore—four times the volume produced in all previous drilling in the province as a whole.

Nobody will know if MacMullin’s labors have paid off until later this year, when the first well is spudded. And now, with oil prices plunging and companies scaling back their exploration, it could all be at risk—although both companies say they are carrying on regardless for now. But if there is oil and it is economic to extract, it could stop Nova Scotia’s decline and transform this quiet, mannerly and relatively isolated province of 940,000 people into the scene of a roiling new oil boom.

To begin with, however, all MacMullin had to go on was a hunch. To back it up, he would have to persuade his bosses to spend $15 million from spartan provincial funds on specialists with an extremely arcane skill: paleogeology, the painstaking reconstruction of the long-ago world.

“We could have sat and waited for the demise, but no one wanted that,” MacMullin said over breakfast in this tawdry port. “We had to do something.”

The birthplace of the continents


Two hundred million years ago, a gigantic supercontinent, Pangaea, comprised all the land on Earth. Nova Scotia and Morocco, today separated by about 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of the Atlantic Ocean, were conjoined. And since oil had been found in the deep waters offshore from Morocco, MacMullin had heard from experts, it stood to reason, geologically speaking, that it must be present in Nova Scotia, too. The two were “analogs” of one another. By starting at the very birth of the conditions for the creation of hydrocarbons, they might locate Nova Scotia’s petroleum trove.

FOR BIZ STORY: Sandy MacMullin, executive director of the Petroleum Resources Branch for the Nova Scotia Department of Energy is seen with the Play Fairway Analysis atlas for the offshore of Nova Scotia, at the province's Department of Energy offices in Halifax Friday January 20, 2012. All of the data included in the hefty atlas, was produced at a cost of over $8 million dollars.

Sandy MacMullin is 55 years old, solid like the amateur hockey player he was for years, and a fitness fanatic, bicycling for 25 minutes every day to his office near the marina even in Halifax’s freezing winters. In college, he studied agricultural engineering, but he landed a trainee government job in oil reservoir analysis, and liked the work. Three decades later, he heads up Nova Scotia’s Petroleum Resources Branch, which makes him the government’s leading oilman.

In order to reverse the deeply held pessimism about Nova Scotia’s oil prospects, MacMullin had to demonstrate the potential for significant new discoveries. Given the dramatic industry exodus, it meant starting from scratch, and MacMullin did what politicians and bureaucrats typically recommend in a crisis—he commissioned a study.
NS-offshore.

Most of the wells up to now off Nova Scotia’s coast have been in shallow water. (Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board)

He contracted it to a group of retired BP scientists at a UK firm called RPS. Leading them was a Cypriot-born geologist named Hamish Wilson. Examining Nova Scotian history, Wilson noticed that the early drillers had worked almost entirely in extremely shallow water—400-500 feet (120-150m) deep. He also observed that, in their post-1986 run of bad luck, they had been relying almost wholly on 1970s seismic methods—tools that are rudimentary by today’s standards.

It was possible, RPS said, that something had been missed. Wilson’s proposal included going deeper—hunting for an entirely new oil province in 6,500 feet of water, reaching for much older geology, and using much more advanced exploration tools. Wilson’s model would reconstruct Nova Scotia through eight geological eras going back to the early Jurassic age, just as Pangaea was breaking up. Given how oil cooked up over time, that was where, if substantial undiscovered reserves existed, they would be found.

Such “analog exploration” is a current geologic rage among international oil companies. Along much of the north-south strip of geology underlying the Atlantic Ocean, oil explorers are noting where petroleum has already been found, and then, in a nod to Pangaea, looking for its analog in a place to which it was once fused, often thousands of miles away on another continent.

Pangaea is only the latest of numerous supercontinents in the earth’s history. At approximately 300-million- to 500-million-year intervals, for at least 3 billion years and perhaps longer, plate tectonics have created and broken up these land masses. Where they have left the conditions for the creation of hydrocarbons has been a matter of accident—a rare and specific sequence of geologic events.
“Analogs are a great tool of exploration. You get to know something. You can touch and feel.”

Numerous of those sequences happened in what is called the Atlantic Margin, a string of basins that links Europe, Africa and North and South America, following a path from Tierra del Fuego and the Cape of Good Hope in the South Atlantic to the northern waters off of Newfoundland, Greenland and the United Kingdom. Theoretically, you can drill anywhere on either side of these once-united continents and find oil or gas.

When American oil lobbyists advocate drilling offshore from Virginia, they are hoping to tap the geology of the Atlantic Margin. A rush of interest to drill offshore from Namibia (paywall) is the same play. In 2007, Tullow Oil made a discovery offshore from Ghana. From there, the UK-based company went straight across the Atlantic to French Guiana and, in 2011, found an oilfield called Zaedyus. After 20 billion barrels of oil were discovered in offshore Brazil, frenzied oil companies explored the opposing geology in deepwater Angola where, in 2012, they found petroleum in a play called Kwanza.
...
In the beginning: The Bahamas, 203 million years BC
200 million years ago, Nova Scotians could see Morocco from their house. (copyrightexpired.com)

The British consultants became MacMullin’s partners in saving Nova Scotia. Wilson, whose father and both siblings were also geologists, was joined by three other BP veterans. Together, they set out to reconstruct the world starting a little over 200 million years ago. “We needed to put the continents back together,” Wilson said.

The time they were looking at was one when the united Nova Scotia and Morocco were situated near the present-day Caribbean. If a dinosaur were inclined to roam 300 or 400 miles, it could have walked from Halifax to Rabat. Balmy and leafy, Pangaea was in the throes of breaking up.

As the inexorable currents of molten rock inside the earth slowly drove the continents apart, there was first cracking, followed by an explosion. Magma ejected violently. Rifts opened in Pangaea corresponding roughly to the coastlines of present-day Canada and North Africa. Seawater flooded in. A coral reef the size and appearance of the Great Barrier Reef began to form—an ancestor of today’s Bahamas.

Over tens of millions of years, that water would broaden into the central Atlantic Ocean. But to begin with, it was shallow. It would evaporate in the tropical heat, then build up again before vanishing anew, resulting in a thickening salt plain. When the water was there, it supported the presence of billions of marine animals, both tiny and larger. In the dry periods, the animals died and became buried in mud and sand landslides. Gradually they merged into a gigantic mass of gunk—salt, dead organisms and sediment, all of it piling up in a gently subsiding basin.

For these organisms to transmogrify into an oilfield would require a fortunate sequence of events.

First, the muck of organisms, sand and mud had to harden into rock. Then it had to ferment, or “cook”, for tens of millions of years. This cooking would have happened in what’s called “source rock,” which is dense, like shale or sandstone. Source rock is the fundamental component of an oilfield, the kitchen for the creation of oil and gas.

But getting oil straight from source rock is difficult. The rock is too dense to allow for the easy extraction of embedded liquid molecules. Onshore and in shallow waters, oil companies use hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” techniques to blast cracks into source rock and release the oil, but fracking at the ocean depths where MacMullin and Wilson wanted to look is exceptionally difficult and expensive, and companies are only just starting to take it on.

So for the oil to be easily accessible, the next step it must take after “cooking” in the source rock is to naturally seep out and be captured within a larger, outside container—a reservoir. An oil reservoir is not like a gigantic tank or swimming pool: It’s just another mass of rock. But it has larger pores. Those pores are linked—they run more or less in a sequence that allows the oil or natural gas to be freely pumped from the ground.

Finally, the reservoir has to be self-contained: sealed off by something else, such as another kind of rock, or a cap of salt. If not, the hydrocarbons will leak away and be lost to the subterranean world.

Emergent marsh continues to form at the mouth of the Wax Lake Outlet since the early 1970's due to sediment inadvertently deposited by a 1940's Army Corps flood control project southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana April 20, 2011. When BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico last April, killing 11 workers, authorities first reported that no crude was leaking into the ocean. They were wrong. One year on, oil from the largest spill in U.S. history clogs wetlands, pollutes the ocean and endangers wildlife, not to mention the toll it has inflicted on the coastal economies of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and especially Louisiana. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

Take a stinking marsh, dry it, cover it, cook it, wait 15 million years. (Reuters/Sean Gardner)

So Wilson had to show that this chain had unfolded perfectly in Nova Scotia. None of the steps could be missed. For starters, his team had to discover how long the initial process had gone on—how long that narrow stretch of water between the future opposing continents was shallow. Then, what did the waters look like—were they clear and blue, like a Bahaman cove, or green, saline and malodorous like a Florida marsh? To create a soup of hydrocarbons, the conditions had to be anoxic and relatively stagnant—the water had to be a lagoon with restricted oxygen and circulation. The more stagnant the better.

And it had to have persisted that way for 10 or 15 million years. If the waters had been deep, open and agitated—or if they had been shallow and cut off, but for only a few million years—there was no reason to look any further for oil. The muck would not have fermented into hydrocarbons, and MacMullin would have to conceive another plan to save his province.

(more at link: https://qz.com/318755/how-one-mans-wild ... -oil-boom/ )
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby willendure » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:18 pm

Chromium6 wrote:In the beginning: The Bahamas, 203 million years BC
...


Fascinating stuff. But rather than swamps, doesn't it seem more likely that as the continents moved apart, material from deeper within the earth was able to come up? The oil comes from deeper within the Earth?
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:28 pm

Magma Power: Scientists Drill into Volcano to Harness its Energy
By Kacey Deamer, Staff Writer | February 9, 2017 04:39pm ET
(more at link....)

Credit: Reykjanes Peninsula image via Shutterstock

It's not every day that scientists can study a volcano up close, but researchers investigating the feasibility of volcano-powered electricity successfully drilled into the core of one in Iceland.

Scientists studied the volcanic system at Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland, which has been dormant for more than 700 years, according to a hazard assessment by Verkis Consulting Engineers for Invest in Inceland.

The depths of Reykjanes' geothermal field — an area with high heat flow — had never been explored, researchers with the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) said in a statement. Beginning in August 2016, the IDDP spent 168 days drilling into the volcanic belly of Reykjanes. This well was completed on Jan. 25, reaching a record-breaking depth of nearly 3 miles (4.8 kilometers). [The 11 Biggest Volcanic Eruptions in History]

At this depth, the hole does not enter the magma chamber but does penetrate the rock surrounding it, which the researchers measured to be about 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius).

Geothermal energy uses the heat trapped beneath the Earth's surface to generate electricity. Conventional geothermal energy utilizes steam from natural sources such as geysers, or by drawing water from the hot, high-pressue depths of the Earth. The hot vapors are then used to drive electric turbines.

In the case of volcanic geothermal energy, the heat comes from "supercritical water." The researchers explained that energy from so-called supercritical water is much higher than conventional geothermal steam. When molten rock and water meet, the extreme heat and pressure bring water to a "supercritical" state, where it is neither liquid nor gas. In this form, the water can carry more energy than normal steam, which could create up to 10 times the power output of other geothermal sources.

Research will continue through 2018 to explore how the volcano's thermal energy could be used, including as a form of alternative energy, according to IDDP scientists.

"If deep supercritical wells, here and elsewhere in the world, can produce more power than conventional geothermal wells, fewer wells would be needed to produce the same power output, leading to less environmental impact and improved economics," IDDP researchers said in the statement.

Geothermal energy is a major source of energy in Iceland, with about 25 percent of the country's electricity generated from tapping the Earth's heat, according to the National Energy Authority of Iceland. About 90 percent of Icelandic households are heated with geothermal energy.

https://www.livescience.com/57833-scien ... nergy.html
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:04 am

A bit dated now but worth another look:
----------

Stars manufacturing complex organic matter?
By Will Parker on October 27, 2011 in News, Space

An analysis of the spectral emissions from distant stars suggests that compounds of unexpected complexity – some resembling coal and petroleum – exist throughout the universe and are being made by stars. The proponents of this controversial idea, Professors Sun Kwok and Yong Zhang of the University of Hong Kong, argue their case in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Kwok and Zhang base their hypothesis on a set of infrared emissions – known as “Unidentified Infrared Emission Features” – previously detected in stars and interstellar space. Since the first recording of these emissions, the most commonly accepted theory regarding their origin has been that they come from simple organic molecules made of carbon and hydrogen atoms, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

Kwok and Zhang contend, however, that observations from the Infrared Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope indicate that these spectra have features that cannot be explained by PAH molecules alone. Rather, they propose that the substances generating these spectra have chemical structures that are much more complex. By analyzing the emissions of star dust formed in exploding stars, they claim that stars are making these complex organic compounds in timeframes of only weeks.

The scientists add that not only are stars producing this complex organic matter, they are also ejecting it into interstellar space. “Our work has shown that stars have no problem making complex organic compounds under near-vacuum conditions,” said Kwok. “Theoretically, this is impossible, but observationally we can see it happening.

Kwok says that the compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble those of coal and petroleum. Coal and oil are thought to arise only from living organisms but the tell-tale spectra, he argues, show complex organic compounds can be synthesized in space even when no life forms are present.

Kwok and Zhang’s work raises the possibility that stars enriched the early solar system with complex organic compounds. The early Earth was subjected to bombardment by comets and asteroids, which may have been delivery vehicles for this organic star dust. Whether these organic compounds played any role in the development of life on Earth remains an open question.

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/201109 ... _sys.shtml
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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Re: Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

Unread postby Chromium6 » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm

https://gmsciencein.com/2017/07/28/molecules-in-space/

PAHS in Space

The Universe that we live in is a complex web that unravels itself through various interactions. Electromagnetic waves are the carriers of signals from farthest corners of the Universe to the Earth where these are decoded using modern equipment, viz. Telescopes, etc. Before the development of advanced instrumentation, Astronomers in the ancient times used to observe with the naked eyes. Objects like stars, constellations, and other bright entities were easily detected and documented in early times. Apart from the luminous sources, the space is full of material that lies between stars and is commonly known as the interstellar medium (ISM). The most important constituents of the ISM are atoms and ions, particles like electrons, molecules (small to big) and solid dust particles (mostly silicate and graphite). The abundance of these constituents depends on the phase of the ISM which in-turn depends on the physical conditions. The focus of this article is on molecules residing in the ISM.
Molecules in Space
Artist’s illustration of the connection between life and space exploration | Credit: Cheryse Triano (NASA)

The study of interstellar molecules is an interdisciplinary research area known as Astrochemistry and Astrobiology. The research involves an amalgamation of Physics, Chemistry and sometimes Biology to some extent. Molecular spectroscopy is a major component of the research. In fact, detection and observation of interstellar molecules involve the most modern spectroscopic techniques available today. The ultra-modern spectroscopy laboratories on Earth too try to replicate the conditions of the ISM and measure the spectrum of molecules. The typical conditions of the ISM where molecules may survive are quite variable. The temperatures vary from few Kelvins to about hundred Kelvin. Molecules may be easily destroyed in the ISM by the harsh radiation coming from stars, but they may survive in the densest regions of the ISM where they are shielded by solid dust particles causing strong extinction. Creating such an extreme environment on Earth is a highly challenging task. Astrochemists at NASA AMES, low-temperature laboratory astrophysics group at the University of Rennes (Laboratory Astrophysics), laboratory astrophysics group at Leiden, Prof. Maier’s group at University of Basel, etc., are dedicated to the study of interstellar molecules using state-of-the-art technology. The recent confirmation of the C60+ (Fig. 1) as the carrier of two Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs) reflects the achievement of the extraordinary level of spectroscopy.
Molecules in Space
Fig. 1: Structures of Buckminsterfullerene and typical PAHs

This work published in Nature not only reconfirmed the presence of Buckminsterfullerene in space but lead one step further towards solving the longest standing problem of DIBs in the area of astronomical spectroscopy.

If we take a look at the list of molecules that have been detected in the ISM, we find that of the more than 200 molecules detected, most of them are organics (carbon based), especially the larger ones. The technique that has helped in detecting most of these molecules is Microwave Spectroscopy that detects molecules having a permanent dipole moment.

Another interesting family of molecules is the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) (Fig. 1). These are fused benzenoid rings with delocalized electrons that make them robust enough to survive the harsh interstellar conditions. Their presence is revealed by observations of mid-infrared emission bands. These bands are ubiquitously present in varying interstellar environments which point to the vast abundance of PAH molecules in space. Modern infrared space telescopes like ISO, SPITZER, AKARI, SOFIA and the upcoming JWST have revolutionized the observation of PAH emission bands. Variations observed in the band positions and intensities have been correlated with the physical conditions of the source that improves our understanding of the ISM. PAHs are also an important contributor to the charge balance and heating of the ISM. Apart from the emission bands, PAHs are proposed to be contributing to Diffuse Interstellar Bands (DIBs), the Extended Red Emission (ERE), UV extinction and the UV bump, etc. Thus, PAHs are an important component of the ISM acting as a large reservoir of carbon.

.......

Dr. Amit Pathak is presently working as an Assistant Professor at the Tezpur Central University. Earlier he received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Physics from the Gorakhpur University, U.P, India. He has completed multiple projects as a Postdoctoral fellow which include UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) from University of Nottingham, U.K, Indo-French project (IFCPAR funded) at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Indo-Russian (DST ILTP) project from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Dr. Pathak’s main research interest lies in understanding the properties of interstellar dust and interstellar Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules. His interest also covers astrobiological implications on studies related to the experimental spectroscopy of dust, PAHs using a multi-wavelength approach and spectroscopy of astrophysical molecules. He is an excellent researcher and teacher who has authored a number of research papers and books.

Related site
Astro-Chemistry
http://www.astrochymist.org/
On the Windhexe: ''An engineer could not have invented this,'' Winsness says. ''As an engineer, you don't try anything that's theoretically impossible.''
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