Monday, December 8, 2008

Oil Seeps Now Monitored By Satellite

New Scientist: Hunt for oil slicks boosted by free satellite images .

Natural oil oozing out from the seabed makes up nearly half of the oil that spills into the oceans. Now, a new technique that uses freely available satellite imagery can precisely locate and monitor every natural seep on Earth.


Anaconda said...


"Natural oil oozing out from the seabed makes up nearly half of the oil that spills into the oceans."

And how long has this crude oil been "oozing" out of the sea-floor?

Millions of years?

We don't know, but it has been "oozing" for a long time.

If the oil originated from finite amounts of "fossil" organic detritus deposited millions of years ago in the sediments, it becomes inescapable that long ago these seeps would have exhausted their finite supply.

Yet, oil keeps seeping, as if "weeping" from the cracks and fissures in the Earth that lead from a chemical "body" which continuously produces crude oil.

Oil seeps are direct evidence of Earth's ongoing formation of abiotic oil.

Also, in terms of environmental issues, it reveals that while man-made oil spills are to be avoided, and, indeed, safety has been increased substantially and spills reduced -- the potential for man-made oil spills is no reason for objecting to off-shore oil development.

Crude oil seeping into the oceans is as natural as mothers breast-feeding their child.

Anaconda said...


A picture is worth a thousand words, that's the old saw.

Images are more powerful than words when conveying the structure of physical objects or processes.

That is why movies, animation, and diagrams or schematics are such powerful tools in converying ideas.

Here's a picture of the abiotic oil formation process below the sea-floor.

The "picture" is taken from this Keith and Swan scientific abstract.

Sure, the "picture" is not as realistic as can be done with today's technology, but is it any less informative?

And this picture (okay, artist's rendering) while envisioning an oil seep at the shore's edge, is also known to happen in deep waters, too.

" -- Marine mud volcanoes, such as the Campeche Knolls (shale/salt diapirs), in the Gulf of Mexico, located on the flank of a previous spreading system.

-- Large mud volcanoes on the Mid Mediterranean Ridge, located on a subduction/accretionary system.

-- Mud volcanoes on and off Trinidad, located on a transform plate boundary."

And these mud volcanoes produce in part light hydrocarbons:

"The Campeche volcanoes also produce light hydrocarbons, which are detectable on the sea-surface with satellite technology (MacDonald et al., 2004)."

Also asphalt volcanoes exist in the deepest regions of the Gulf of Mexico:

"Asphalt volcanoes and lava-like flows of solidified asphalt on the seafloor were first discovered and described by MacDonald et al. The flows covered more than one square kilometer of a dissected salt dome at abyssal depths (˜3000 m) in the southern Gulf of Mexico. “Chapopote” (93°26'W, 21°54'N) was one of two asphalt volcanoes they discovered."

Asphalt volcanoes found in over 9000 feet of water in the abyssal depths of the Gulf of Mexico -- not a promising place for organic detritus I'm afraid.

Of course, oil seeps from the ocean bottom the good old fashioned way, too: From cracks and fissures:

"ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2000) — Twice an Exxon Valdez spill worth of oil seeps into the Gulf of Mexico every year, according to a new study that will be presented January 27 at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Antonio, Texas."

All this is highly inconvenient for "fossil" theory advocates.

Make specific note: All three examples above are located next to tectonic fault boundaries:

" -- Marine mud volcanoes, such as the Campeche Knolls (shale/salt diapirs), in the Gulf of Mexico, located on the flank of a previous spreading system.

-- Large mud volcanoes on the Mid Mediterranean Ridge, located on a subduction/accretionary system.

-- Mud volcanoes on and off Trinidad, located on a transform plate boundary."

I've made a whole series of comments on the existence of crude oil deposits in areas around "transform plate boundaries" (off the Oregon and California coast).

The evidence is there and geologists know these abiotic hydrocarbons exist.

But geologists obfuscate when directly confronted with the scientific evidence:

"The rhetoric of today's abiotic-oil campaign also repeats a familiar circular pattern, this one from the creationist "intelligent design" and "anti-global-warming" campaigns:

A contrarian passion—I don't like it, so it must be wrong. A black-and-white worldview—everything they know is totally wrong. Accusations of mental flaws in the mainstream—they hate me because they hate being wrong. Eager jumping to wishful political conclusions—oil cannot ever run out. Enjoy a bracing dip into this paranoid school from its foremost proponent at Gas

So, geologists know about abiotic oil sources, but geologists like the one above -- well you read the abiotic debate and see what you think of the geologist's reasoning.

May I suggest the above debate is an example why nobody bothers coming onto this website and challenging the science of Abiotic Oil theory.

They can't scientifically refute the evidence and more important, they know it.

Anaconda said...


It's important to examine how geologists report & comment on field work of other geologists.

This geologist's comment is extensive and effusive regarding asphalt volcanism:

"While volcanism is common under the sea, NOBODY DREAMED [emphasis added] that in some places, vents erupt not lava but asphalt."

"It's the world's first known asphalt volcano. There may be many more."

The geologist gives a brief discription of the location:

"The geologic setting at the site, west of the Yucatán in 3000 meters of water, is a field of salt domes called the Campeche Knolls. These tall, steep hills grow as ductile salt bodies rise into the overlying seafloor rocks; as is common around the Gulf, oil and gas leak upward with the salt."

And then the geologist follows with a brief description of the technique used and what was located:

"Even with this short-range visual instrument they documented one square kilometer of tar flows, some of them 20 meters across."

The geologist goes on to remark that petroleum was also found:

"Besides asphalt, the expedition found places soaked with petroleum and others with cold, white layers of methane hydrate."

"At Chapopote the tar seems to have come out of the ground hot, but like undersea lava flows, it quickly hardens in the cold seawater."

The geologist makes the direct comparison between asphalt vocanoes and regular volcanism:

"In fact it forms asphalt "aa" and "pahoehoe" just like what you find in Hawaiian basalt. In another parallel with ordinary volcanoes, the warm asphalt turns delicate icy layers of methane hydrate into bursts of free gas, just as hot rock lava causes explosions by flashing groundwater into steam — phreatomagmatic eruptions. (But I don't know what you'd call a tar/hydrate eruption in scientific Latin.)"

(You know a scientist is excited and thinks he commenting on a first when he starts talking about naming something in Latin.)

The geologist takes dead aim at the driving force behind this geological discovery:

"In 2005 the team reported more details, and a provocative theory. Examining samples from the tar flows, the researchers found abundant small pores lined with various minerals: sulfates, chlorides and carbonates. They theorized, in the 18 October 2005 Eos, that the energy source involves a special substance: SUPERCRITICAL WATER [emphasis added]".

Okay, okay, you want to read the geologist's comments directly from his report ("the horse's mouth"), not from a series of quoted passages:

(Good, I'm hoping readers click the link to his comments.), Asphalt Volcanism, By Andrew Alden

Mr. Alden concludes by writing:

"Surely there's a lot more asphalt in the Campeche Knolls and elsewhere. In fact MacDonald, in the 14 May 2004 Science, pointed out that tar flows had been photographed 200 km to the north of Chapopote in 1971. He suggested that others might locate more occurrences by doing what his team did: looking for oil slicks in satellite images of the sea surface."

Yes, that's what this post is about: Locating oil seeps in satellite images of the sea surface.

And a whole lot more than that.

It's quite clear this geologist is excited by what he learned is happening on the sea bottom.

Anaconda said...


It's time to take another look at Keith and Swan's abiotic oil diagram:

Here's a schematic of the abiotic oil formation process below the sea-floor.

(The schematic can be manipulated to focus and enlarge on specific areas of the diagram.)

It's clear Keith & Swan are refering to Abiotic petroluem formation.

Hydrothermal Hydrocarbons, Stanley B. Keith and Monte M. Swan

"We suggest a third possibility--the generation of methane and heavier hydrocarbons through reactions that occur during cooling, fractionation, and deposition of dolomitic carbonates, metal-rich black shales, and other minerals from hydrothermal metagenic fluids. These fluids are proposed to be the product of serpentinization of carbon-rich peridotites under hydrogen-rich, reduced conditions."

Keith & Swan follow up with another scientific paper abstract: Peridotites, Serpentinization, and Hydrocarbons, Stanley B. Keith and Monte M. Swan

In the above abstract Keith & Swan are clearly discussing abiotic oil formation processes.