Editor's Note: Do you subscribe to the fossil fuel theory in which petroleum is created by "dinosaurs?" Have you ever wondered just how many dinosaurs there were? The industrial revolution has practically exponentially increased the volume of oil taken from the Earth. Where does it end? Or more poignantly, does it end? Much of the existing beliefs are based on 120-year-old technology. I have often wondered how many dinosaurs there were and know for a fact that the amount of petroleum pumped from the ground daily is staggering. There has to be another answer and Professor Gold seems to know what it is. This topic is under much debate in the scientific community. It hit the mainstream recently when Professor Gold's research was quoted in an April 16, 1999 article in "The Wall Street Journal." We are featuring this article, compiled by Paul Sheridan, to further expose the "a-biogenic theory" to the mainstream.
A revolution in the Earth Sciences is having an impact on everything from the geopolitics of petroleum to environmental dogma. Centered on the a-biogenic theory of hydrocarbon formation, a new book by Professor Thomas Gold of Cornell University is a must-read for anyone truly concerned about the political and scientific wellbeing of the human race.
To Sell Hot Air The Environmentalists Needed Hard Sell
When was the last time the media or a politician reminded you of "global warming?" Probably yesterday. When was the last time you heard the term "fossil fuels?" Probably yesterday as well, while they were brainwashing you about the end of the industrial age. About 30 years ago they also told you that we would run out of "fossil fuels," and that there was a need for alternative sources of energy. You probably remember being hammered about the "energy crisis," and that we only had 15 years of oil remaining, assuming we were able to conserve energy, and on and on.
Obviously, no serious person jeopardizes the environment or wastes natural resources. Although we expect it from politicians, no one likes to endure the "hard sell" approach to any topic. Where we least expected the hard-sell was from the science community. But that's just what we've been getting from scientists about the supposed relationship between "fossil fuels" and global warming. But do "fossil fuels" really exist? And if there is no such thing as "fossil fuels," then what are the implications to the currently promoted doctrines regarding worldwide petroleum energy supplies? Or the notion that the human burning of "fossil fuels" is the cause of global warming?
The media also promotes the myth that there is a cause-effect relationship between "fossil fuels" and global warming. But The Deep Hot Biosphere by Thomas Gold presents hard evidence that demolishes this environmental myth.
What Are So-Called "Fossil Fuels"
Environmentalists emphasize that prehistoric Earth had abundant plant and animal life. During these prehistoric times the average global temperatures were a few degrees higher. As they do today, prehistoric plants took in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and breathed out oxygen. This method of respiration by green plant life is called photosynthesis. This is the opposite of humans, which take in oxygen and then exhale carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas. These gases retain a portion of the radiant heat energy from the sun in the atmosphere. Unlike the warning of radicals, greenhouse gases do not usher in doomsday. Far from it. Without an atmosphere filled with gases that store heat energy, life on the surface of Earth would not be possible (ala Mars). These environmental radicals also rant that CO2 is the number one greenhouse gas, which is untrue. The number one greenhouse gas is water vapor!
This prehistoric plant life eventually died and was buried in the shallow regions that geologists call sedimentary layers. Over time these and other sediments solidify; hence the term sedimentary rocks. The environmentalists claim that after eons the dead plants buried in the sediments fossilized, but also chemically decomposed into a variety of hydrocarbons. As the name implies, hydrocarbons are composed of hydrogen and carbon. Like all life, plants are mostly water, but minor portions do decompose into hydrocarbons. Environmentalists claim that decomposed prehistoric plants resulted in petroleum, coal and methane. This is how environmentalists justify tagging hydrocarbons as "fossil fuels." Sorry, it's all wrong!
The Old 'Biogenic Theory' of Hydrocarbon Formation
Modern environmentalists cannot be blamed for the term "fossil fuels." In the 1870's, it was geologists that documented the existence of biological debris in the petroleum and coal deposits. They mistakenly thought that biology was the source of petroleum and coal. This is called the 'biogenic theory.'
The biogenic theory has two restrictions. First, it restricts the search for petroleum to only shallow levels of sedimentary rock. Second, the biogenic theory limits the worldwide projections of remaining reserves. Environmentalists claim that since there were limited amounts of prehistoric plant life, there can be only limited quantities of petroleum. This is not the first time that a mere theory has been used to convince you that a commodity is scarce; and therefore expensive!
Another premise of the old biogenic theory is that "fossil fuels" retain the CO2 inhaled by prehistoric plants. The theory claims that as a result of this "capturing" of the greenhouse gas CO2, Earth underwent a global cooling. The biogenic theory proposes that the prehistoric lowering of CO2 had decreased the heat storage capacity of the atmosphere. But now environmentalists claim that when humans burn "fossil fuels," especially in cars and trucks, they are "re-releasing CO2."
So here we have the biogenic theory of hydrocarbons, which is wrong; along with an unproven greenhouse theory of global warming, which points a vindictive finger at humans for the burning of "fossil fuels." For example, Stephen Schneider of Stanford University was developing quite a career by playing his computer climate video games for politicians. In 1983 he announced:
"What we're really getting back is the carbon dioxide (CO2) that was taken out of the air hundreds of millions of years ago, when plants died and sank to the bottom of swamps. And we're getting it back when we burn that coal or that oil."
This is a bunch of high-powered, highly promoted, computer-generated nonsense.
Professor Gold and the A-biogenic Theory of Hydrocarbon Formation
The first time I heard of Professor Gold was in 1975. Gold was founding director for the Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. He was chairman of Cornell's Department of Astronomy. He has Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, Ph.D.'s from Cambridge to Harvard to Cornell . He is currently a member of just about every science group from the National Academy of Sciences to the Royal Society of London. He has published nearly 300 papers on everything from neutron stars to radar to cosmology. Gold's lifelong work in the laboratory has kept him far too busy for the television and political sound-bite games of so-called environmentalism!
But what does astronomy have to do with hydrocarbons? The answer involves the a-biogenic theory of hydrocarbon formation. Unlike the "fossil fuels" fantasy which supposedly began in prehistoric times, the a-biogenic theory goes back to the planetary formation of Earth, over 4.5 billion years ago; long before life or fossils existed!
From Scientific Theory to Practical Applications
In December 1983 the Wall Street Journal interviewed Gold for the article 'Astronomer Believes Oil, Gas Deposits as Old as the Earth.' This was followed by another, 'What If Methane is Inexhaustible?' (Methane is the primary component of natural gas.).
At the time of these articles I was employed in the Ford Powertrain Planning group. I was assigned to engine/transmission production, Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), and emissions compliance; to name a few. In 1984 I moved to Chrysler. By 1987 I was an Engineering Manager, responsible for products such as the Dodge-Cummins diesel pickup.
When I transferred to the minivan group in 1991 they were struggling with the more stringent Clean Air Act, especially in California. Since a majority of Chrysler sales in California are the minivan, it was effectively targeted by Sacramento's new rules. I wrote a paper summarizing the emissions issues, including the necessity of natural gas as a minivan fuel. I later called the initial meetings which raised management awareness of the specific issues. My meetings led to development of Chrysler's natural gas minivan. Prior to this time, no such product or plans existed.
The personal context of my efforts on the natural gas minivan was my concern for the environment. But the scientific context was my knowledge of Gold's work on the a-biogenic origins of hydrocarbons, especially their abundance. Much of this knowledge came from his 1987 book "Power From the Earth."
From Astrophysics to Automobiles
Gold's new book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere" is a culmination of over 50 years of his life. It is extremely comprehensive. Admittedly it takes enormous effort to overcome the old "fossil fuel" thinking, which has been promoted by politicians and their media friends. But once you understand Gold's concepts, you'll have a renewed suspicion of our politicians, and disappointment with the science community. With a basis in astrophysics, "The Deep Hot Biosphere" will have implications from environmental policy, to the geopolitics of oil, to the automobile industry.
Chapter 3 is called "The Deep-Earth Gas Theory." It discusses the fact that hydrocarbons have been in existence since the earliest times of the universe. They are part of the process of planetary formation. Their constituents, hydrogen and carbon, originated in the primordial soup from which Planet Earth was formed.
Gold explains that you will find hydrocarbon sources at great depths below the surface; not a few miles, but a few hundred miles! The deep-earth sources of hydrocarbons are still at it to this day, pumping tons of methane gas and petroleum up through the Earth to the shallow sedimentary levels. It is here that drilling rigs access the upwelling that has been vertically dammed into petroleum reservoirs. Hydrocarbons did not come from rotting plants- hydrocarbons were here a few billion years before life occurred.
Chapter 3 summarizes five fundamental assumptions regarding the deep-earth, a-biogenic sourcing of hydrocarbons. All five are supported by currently accepted science. Gold also discusses the latest space research information; much of which he discovered or proposed. Chapter 3 reminds us that hydrocarbons are present on lifeless heavenly bodies such as moons, asteroids, and comets. They are also found on the "Gas Giants' such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. In fact, the blue coloration of planet Uranus is due to methane, a so-called "fossil fuel.' Gold explains,
"I am sure there are no big stagnant swamps on Titan or Pluto."
Chapter 4, "Evidence for Deep-Earth Gas," presents seven empirical facts that strongly support the a-biogenic theory :
1) The geographical patterns that emerge from the oil fields, whether in the Middle East or Indonesia or Louisiana, all exhibit a correspondence to deep Earth geological structure. This is unlike the haphazard deposition we find with surface life, and their subsequent fossils. Fossils have never exhibited such patterns.
2) Hydrocarbons from a particular oil field do not exhibit chemical changes as the depth of their extraction increases. But the few fossils above them have constantly changing biological "signatures" which relate to their paleontologies (i.e. epochs of time). Russian geologists currently have productive oil wells that have been drilled into the basement rock, far below the sedimentary strata-where fossils have never penetrated, hydrocarbons are found in abundance!
3) Hydrocarbons are found in geographic areas where the amount of prehistoric life at that location could never provide the quantities involved. When you think about it, most surface life is comprised of 90-percent water and 10-percent other stuff. So even if the '10-percent other stuff' were converted completely to hydrocarbons, it would not even come close to the mass of coal and petroleum already extracted during the last 130 years.
4) This is similar to #2 but points out that because hydrocarbons are so consistent, the use of distinct trace metals can be used to identify their geographic origin.
5) The existing petroleum reservoirs are refilling themselves . . . from the bottom! Yes, you read that correctly. Gold explains:
"The phenomenon of petroleum reservoirs that seem to refill themselves is widely reported, notably in the Middle East and along the U.S. Gulf Coast. I regard these occurrences as strong evidence for the deep-earth gas theory."
So do I! This piece of evidence is absolutely astounding. For those interested in further confirmation of this 're-filling' phenomenon, I encourage you to read the April 16, 1999 Wall Street Journal article "Odd Reservoirs Off Louisiana Prods Oil Experts to Seek Deeper Meaning." The old "fossil fuels" nonsense has no explanation for this phenomenon!
6) and 7) involve some advanced concepts from astrophysics, biophysics and nuclear physics. These go beyond the scope of this article.
Diamonds Are Forever
An interesting fact in support of the a-biogenic theory is the data gathered by Dr. Gold from diamonds. Diamonds are a pure form of carbon. The temperatures and pressures required to form them begin at depths of 70 miles ( not seven, seventy!). This far down, the pressures are nearly 600,000 pounds per square inch. This is far below the reach and survival of fossils. Gold has confirmed that hydrocarbons can be found between the interstitial spaces of the carbon crystals that comprise the diamonds. The old biogenic theory has no explanation for this fact of nature!
The Siljan Ring Experiment
In the central part of Sweden is a meteor impact structure called the Siljan Ring. It is not a location where one would find an abundance of "fossil fuels." The interior of the impact structure has very little sedimentary rocks due to the impact explosion. The interior has a basement rock that is extremely thin. It is an excellent choice for the research intended to test the a-biogenic theory. In 1986 the Gold research teams drilled nearly five miles down! The thought was to penetrate the lower crust and possibly the upper mantle. At these depths, no surface life that had decomposed could possibly exist. In 1991 the Siljan Ring experiment was producing 80 barrels a day. Not commercial quantities, but that was not the intention. Science was the intention and the fact that one drop was produced served to support Gold's theory.
The Russians took note of Gold's Siljan Ring experiment. As of 1998, the Russians have drilled over 300 wells into the basement rock on the basis of the Siljan Ring experiment; all of which are producing commercial quantities of crude oil and natural gas. The Russians have transferred their drilling technology to Vietnam. In White Tiger Field, they have drilled 20 wells into the basement rock. The Vietnamese are producing an excess of 6000 barrels per day per well, but in an area that the biogenic theory claims should be void of hydrocarbons.
I encourage you to investigate the a-biogenic theory as presented by "The Deep Hot Biosphere." You will confirm that the "energy crisis" was caused by geopolitics, not physical reality.
About The Author
Paul Sheridan has degrees in mathematics and physics and a graduate business degree from Cornell University. He spent five years at Ford, including membership on the original Ford Taurus product team. He worked at Chrysler for 11 years where he managed everything from the Dodge-Cummins diesel engine program to minivan safety. He is one of only three recipients of the Lee A. Iacocca Chairman's Award.
The Deep Hot Biosphereby Thomas Gold
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Gold's Internet Address
Odd Reservoir Off Louisiana Prods Oil
Experts To Seek Deeper Meaning
Wall Street Journal, April 16, 1999
A Century of War
by Dr. F. William Engdahl
Paul & Company Publishers Consortium
Concord, MA, 1993
Energy and the Evolution of Life
by Dr. Ronald F. Fox
W. H. Freeman & Company
New York , NY, 1988