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    Untapped gas reserves deep in the Earth?
    Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 @ 01:29:12 MST by rob

    General In an era of rising oil and gas prices, the possibility that there are untapped reserves is enticing. Since the first U.S. oil well hit pay dirt in 1859, commercially viable wells of oil and gas commonly have been drilled no deeper than 3 to 5 miles into Earth's crust.

    But new experiments point to the possibility that chemicals related to oil and gas, and which could have similar uses, exist 12 to 37 miles below the Earth's surface, researchers say.

    The discovery could have "huge implications for the ecology and economy of our planet as well as for the chemistry of other planets," said Princeton University researcher Freeman Dyson, who wasn't involved in the new studies.

    The scientists found that deep below the Earth, there could exist hydrocarbons -- the class of chemicals that include petroleum and natural gas. They are called hydrocarbons because they mainly contain hydrogen and carbon.

    Unlike traditional oil and gas, though, it appears these chemicals do not come from the decay of dead animals and plants. Instead, they come from simple chemical reactions between water and rock at the crushing pressures and high temperatures typical of the deep Earth.

    The scientists ran experiments designed to mimic thse conditions, using materials common at the Earth's surace, and found that simple hydrocarbons such as methane were produced. They published the findings in the online Sept. 13-17 edition of the research journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The main author was Russell Hemley of the Carnegie Institution, Washington, D.C.

    As depth increases in the Earth, the pressures can become so crushing that molecules are squeezed into new forms, and the infernal temperatures make matter behave much differently than at the surface.

    Link to story here.



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    "Untapped gas reserves deep in the Earth?" | Login/Create an Account | 1 comment | Search Discussion
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    The Deep, Hot Biosphere (Score: 1)
    by kurt9 on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 @ 09:51:03 MST
    (User Info | Send a Message) http://www.metatechnica.com
    I just read Thomas Gold's book, "The Deep, Hot Biosphere", which is about the abiogenic origin of oil and natural gas. The book is VERY convincing. I am not convinced that he is correct about petroleum, but he is dead right about natural gas.

    Thomas Gold originally derived his theory on the observation that most of the planetary and luner objects of the solar system have lots of methane. Why would the Earth be any different. What sparked this recent article was an experiment where they wer able to create methane from calcite by replicating the same pressures and temperatures that exist 20 to 60 kilometers underground.

    i think that both the biogenic and aboigenic theories on the origin of natural gas are correct. If Gold's theory is correct, there is probably 100 times more natural gas and oil than current theories predict. All the more reason why the "doom and gloom" article in the Scottish newspaper (previous posting in www.zpenergy.com) about the growth of the energy markets in China is full of BS.

    Nevetheless, the basic principles of physics and economics dictate that an advanced technological society can only be sensibly be powered by nuclear processes, first fission and, ultimately, a form of fusion (assuming that ZPE is BS, of course).

    There are two forms of fission that I think offer tremendous improvements over the current (1970's) state of the art. One is the integral fast reactor and the other is the "pebble-bed" reactor. Both versions are being implemented in China.

    Also, it is known that the Chinese are involved in both hot (plasma) and cold fusion reserach.


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