July 27, 2009

EVERY DAY IS THE NEXT PEAK:

Earth's Mantle: Untapped Oil Source? (Michael Reilly, 7/27/09, Discovery News)

For decades, though, scientists have toyed with a tantalizing alternative theory of petroleum formation: What if chemical reactions between water and minerals deep in Earth's mantle could send black gold bubbling up into the crust?

Alexander Goncharov of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington, D.C and a team of researchers have shown that just such a thing is possible. They heated methane (CH4) up to 1,500 degrees Kelvin (2,240 degrees Fahrenheit) and mimicked the squeezing effect of being buried under over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of solid rock.

The results were astonishing -- methane readily transformed into butane (C4H10) and propane (C3H8), two common components of crude oil.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 27, 2009 11:40 AM
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