Monday, July 25, 2005

do hydrocarbon deposits represent the end product of life, or rather its beginnings

there is a widely held perception that oil comes from dead, compressed biomass. people often picture dinosaurs giving way to fields of oil and natural gas. fears that we are depleting irreplaceable energy sources abound, and why not? dino isn't roaming any more.

it is plausible that those hydrocarbon deposits represent the end-stage of life. but hydrocarbon is also the building block of life. is it possible that we are thinking about it backwards? perhaps hydrocarbon fields represent one of the sites of life origination, along with the ocean surface. indeed one of the tests used by oil exploration companies to identify a new reserve is the high bacterial content. higher order life forms may derive from this substrate. it's possible that these fields are both the end-product of life and the substrate for new life. but what if only the latter was true?

if so, what formed the hydrocarbon deposits in the first place? is it being generated by some intrinsic process in the earth's core?

also read the december 6th 2004 post on:


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