How can you say how long it should take when you have no idea of the mechanism?

My own working hypothesis:
If the Oil is from abiogenic creation then it should be Perking up in a geological time frame. Very few things happen rapidly world wide when talking in a geological time frame.
It is easier (for me) to accept that said oil rises up to the surface very slowly than in some rapid pumping fashion.
Accurate or provable, hell no. Reasonable assumption, I think so.
You will tell me if I am wrong.


99 and 44/100% tinfoil hattery. A centrifugal force would push oil into the center of the earth, not to the surface. For an example why, float a helium baloon in your car. When you speed up, the baloon will get pushed to the front of your car, and when you brake, the baloon will get pushed to the back of the car.

I won’t tell you you’re wrong. I will tell you thiat I don’t think it’s a reasonable asusmption, and I sure don’t think you should be stating as fact that it should be millions of years.

The biggest problem is that your ‘theory’ seems to hinge on a circular condition that “Very few things happen rapidly world wide when talking in a geological time frame”. That’s totally circular, almost oxymoronic. Of course things don’t happen rapidly when talking in a geolgical time frame. That’s because a geological time frame is by definition slow. Things don’t ever happen rapidly, on even the most local scales when talking in a geological time frame.

Of course if we assume instead that oil replacement doesn’t occur in a geological time frame then it will happen rapidly, by definition. That doesn’t make that assumption correct either, but it does point out how weak a theory is that assumes that something must be slow because we assume that it happens on geological time scales.

However, another way to read my reply is that it’s wishy-washy. I prefer to think of it as saying “we’re not exactly sure where the oil came from; there’s more evidence that most oil came from biological processes, however, there is are also many unknowns that need to be better explained”.

I have serious problems with that portion of the theory, but admit I do not have the knowledge or experience to say anything definitively one way or another.

Thanks for the reference- I happen to have “More of the SD” on my shelf, and I was glad to see a mention of this possibility. Cecil mentioned a test of the theory being done around that time (1986) at Siljan Ring in Sweden. Quote from p.92: “If oil, or more likely, natural gas is discovered in quantity, it’ll be strong support for Gold’s thesis.” That test was completed in 1990 and in fact did vindicate Gold’s thesis, finding various hydrocarbons (including oil) as far down as 4 miles - a depth that ruled out the possibility of fossils or downward seepage. An earlier Soviet test on the Kona Peninsula found hydrocarbons at almost 7 miles down.

It’s remarkable how angry some posters here get at the mere suggestion that conventional wisdom may be wrong. That’s how science works- theories get tested, and sometimes get supplanted. Don’t get mad, don’t hurl insults- the appropriate response is “Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not.”

Thomas Gold is dead, and even his own students appear to have given up on his theories.

All the more reason to look forward to the outcome of ongoing fusion research.

I think you should drop the insults and go learn what centrifugal force is. Your baloon example is wrong and misleading. C.F. has to do with rotating objects, not a car starting and stopping. (What if the car had no roof? Do you lose your baloon because of centrifugal force?)

I just checked Google. He is too. Died last year. :frowning:

So, does that mean that gold was a creationist, Russian, tinfoil hatter? Or that the other proponents of the theory are creationist, Russian, tinfoil hatters?

Your claim that all proponents of the theory are either Russian, Creationist or tinfoil hatters was ignorant nonsense without any basis in truth.

That is a sad commentary on the role of courage in science. It takes great courage to fight against the Conventional Wisdom of the time. Most young college students just don’t have it. They’re rightly afraid that their peers will call them “tinfoil hatters” or something.

Interesting that Gold died less than a year ago, yet JWK boldly proclaims that it has long since ceased to be taken seriously, and at the same time implied that he was well aware of Gold’s existence.

I’m starting to see wyendor’s point about people calling anyone who disagrees with them a Commie or a religious nut or a tinfoil hatter. Despite being one of the most respected an eminent scientists of out time JWK has the audcaity to say that Gold wasn’t a real scientist at all and was either a Commie or a religious nut or a tinfoil hatter.

I can only speculate what a person like that would call a recent graduate who supported the same theories.

First, I’m sorry if you felt that I was insulting you. I was not. I was saying that the idea that centrifugal force would push oil towards the surface of the earth is wrongheaded.

Second, I see that my explanation implies that the car example is an example of centrifugal force. It is not, it is an example of how a pseudoforce, like centrifugal force, would push oil towards the center of the earth. The acceleration or deceleration in a car makes the person in the car feel a pseudoforce pushing them in the opposite direction that the car is accelerating. There is no actual force pushing them back; it’s the result of them being in a non-inertial reference frame.

Likewise, with centrifugal force, there is no actual force pushing things away from the center of motion of a rotating reference frame. It’s the inertia of an object that would make it move in a straight line were there not another force holding it in the rotating reference frame.

The car example is an easy-to-see example of how, in the confines of a non-inertial reference frame where there are objects of different densities, the less dense objects are actually seen to move in the opposite direction of the apparent force. I think that we can all agree that oil is much less dense than magma, and would therefore move further down in the earth were there not a stronger force (i.e., gravity) pulling the denser objects towards the center of the earth.

If you much have a more concrete example of a rotating reference frame, drive the car around in a circle. The baloon will move towards the center of rotation.

In the past, the Economist Magazine has granted abiotic oil theory more respect than this, FWIW. They haven’t endorsed it (hardly), but I’m guessing that the idea is orders of magnitude more respectable than Bigfoot et al.

OTOH, Geotimes (whoever they are) characterizes the theory as “preposterous”.

Maybe so, but the American Association of Petroleum Geologists had a one day meeting on the topic The Origin of Petroleum in June 2005.

My guess: abiotic theory is fringe, but not crank.

Posted by Tevildo:

You’ve got it backwards: the conventional wisdom at the time (1955) was that the lunar surface might be several feet or even yards of dust. Gold proposed that the surface might instead be a thin layer of rock powder over solid regolith. He was right about that; not the only time he correctly opposed a widely accepted view.

Abiotic oil production is a little harder to swallow, though. Maybe that hole down to the mantle that the Japanese are drilling will give us some answers.

And even if there were an inexhaustible supply of oil, there are plenty of reasons not to keep burning it. (For that matter, even if Gold’s theory is correct, it might be easier to tap into the vast geothermal energy under the crust.)

Hmm. Not according to NASA (check commentary at 113:01:54).

However, de mortuis nil nisi bonum, and that.

I’m not sure who I’m agreeing or disagreeing with at this point, but I need to make a general comment.

All pieces of scientific conventional wisdom have dozens and possibly hundreds of counter-theories, hypotheses, proposals, blue-sky brainstorming, and just plain wacko notions floating around their periphery - just from actual scientists, ignoring the sayings of the Great Unwashed who, having no actual knowledge of science, are free to say anything they please and all too often do.

Rarely, however, perhaps once in a generation, does it turn out that one of these contain some deep understanding of the subject that explains the known facts better than the CW.

Does it take courage, therefore, to combat the CW? Depends on your definition. You enter into the ranks knowing that you’re probably wrong, and will probably lose, and your funding will be a constant battle. Is it worth it? Alternate theories can promote new looks at a subject, or factor in previously scanted data, or make connections between disciplines. And alternate theories are a constant and accepted part of the scientific culture. You may be a maverick, but unless you’re also a nut you’re not going to stand out any more than a minority viewpoint does here at the Dope. People expect it. The more credit you build up the more leeway you’re given for running against the norm.

And in fact, occasionally, these anti-CW ideas have a serious scientist’s name attached. In the long run, this almost always turns out to mean absolutely nothing. I’m trying to think of a bit of anti-CW wisdom that came from an aged scientist that was later accepted. I can’t. There may be, but it’s essentially unheard of. Young scientists come up with most of the new ideas. Always have.

So the fact that Thomas Gold had a notion of abiogenic oil means nothing. Zilch. The odds of it being true are as astronomical as the numbers in his earlier career as an astronomer.

The theory has problems as a theory. That’s the only real issue. Doesn’t matter that it flies against the CW or that a Big Name supported it. Non-scientists love to hear of these things, for reasons I can only speculate have to do with the deep-seated anti-intellectualism of Americans. And they’re almost always wrong. In science, the CW is the CW for good reason. Here too.

Surely you aren’t saying the theory is wrong because Gold was old. How old was Copernicus? Does it matter? Maybe sometimes it takes a lifetime to get an idea out there. Regardless, I don’t care whose theory it was originally- the question is whether it’s a reasonable idea. Considering the enormous implications, I think it’s worth investigating.

Sure abiogenic oil theory has problems, but so does conventional biogenic theory. The difference is that when biogenic or Hubbert Peak proponents are confronted again and again with facts that don’t fit the theory, they just claim the theory is imprecise, or needs minor revision. Many predicted that we’d be out of oil by now, and now we have more oil reserves than ever. No one seems to question the underlying assumptions.

Promoting an alternative theory isn’t “anti-intellectualism”; it is the heart of science. Is it wrong to question? No- As long as your motive is the search for truth.

Luckily, IAMPG.

I would love for the abiogenic theory to be true, but it isn’t. Every single commercial petroleum deposit in the world is easily explicable in terms of the “dino juice” theory. Even the oddball ones such as the ones in Yemen (where I’m typing this) - we’re pumping thousands of barrels a day from Proterozoic Granite.

I wish that were true, but it isn’t. The results illustrate an excellent example of faith-based science. The first well was started in 1986, and eventually got down to around 7km. Throughout the drilling process, trace amounts of CH4 were detected. At the end of drilling, 85 barrels of oil were produced.

Success! Yeh! They struck oil! At least that’s what the true believers would have you believe. Alas, the guys doing the drilling had pumped several hundered barrels of diesel into the well a few days before. This reacted with some caustic soda that was also in the well and produced some predictable results.

Having failed miserably, Prof. Gold wanted to drill down further. Apparently, if they had just drilled “a little further” they would have hit the elusive reservoir.

I work in the same field of study (actually for the same company) that Tapioca does, and I’ll just follow along a bit from what he said. The fact is, not a single commercial oil or gas exploration enterprise I know of bases their exploration decisions on an abiogenic theory of petroleum origin.

A few of the things against a theory of abiogenic petorleum origin are: 1) with only a few rare exceptions, such as where Tapioca currently working, deposits of oil and gas are nearly always found in sedimentary, not igneous rocks; 2) Igneous rocks, unless they have been exposed to erosion, generally have very little porosity or permeability (properties needed for the large-scale storage or migration of hydrocarbons) 3) hydrocarbons more complex than methane are highly unlikely to exist under the temperatures and pressures found in the mantle, and I haven’t seen anything in the literature that could plausibly explain how we could get from methane to more complex hydrocarbons without some sort of organic process to help it along.

In short, I can see a possibility of signficant amounts of methane and other nonhydrocarbon gases being trapped in mantle rocks, but more complex hydrocarbons? Pretty much no chance.

Sorry, but from this statement it is obvious that you have no idea how hydrocarbon reserves are estimated. I’m not blaming you, because the process is sometimes opaque even to those in the industry. We do not have more oil and gas reserves now than in 1960 because reservoirs have been recharging; we have more because more of the world has been explored for these reserves, because of improved technology for extraction of these reserves, and because of improvements in remote sensing technology, particularly seismic exploration.

Lastly, some of the increases in reserves reported each year are simply wild-ass guesses with no scientific foundation, meant to drive up stock prices or stabilize markets. In fact, there is currently a lively debate in the industry concerning the true extent of remaining reserves. In recent years, IIRC, Royal Dutch Shell and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to name only two examples, have been heavily criticized for artificially inflating their reserves estimates.

To conclude, I have read a lot concerning Hubbert’s Peak, and you don’t have to listen to me but I am satisified that his overall methodology was sound. The peak point has shifted somewhat due to the discovery of new reserves that were not known to exist when he formulated his theory, and is likely to shift further, but it seems fairly certain that we are at or past the peak for oil (but not yet for natural gas) in the United States, and nearing it in most areas outside the Middle East.

I’m not saying that we’re all going to be walking tomorrow, but I am saying that there appears to be no magic system for rapid replenishment of hydrocarbons currently in place and that sooner or later we will reach a practical limit of supply.