Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Abiotic Synthesis of Methane

"One can, then, conceive the production, by purely mineral means, of all natural hydrocarbons. The intervention of heat, of water, and of alkaline metals -- lastly, the tendency of hydrocarbons to unite together to form the more condensed material -- suffice to account for the formation of these curious compounds. Moreover, this formation will be continuous because the reactions which started it are renewed incessantly." -- Marcellin Berthelot, chemist, 1866

"The atomic theory, adopted later by the Epicureans, came to us, and she is still professed today by the majority of chemists. It thus seems that it is by a kind of natural affinity that the alchemists reported their origins to Democritus." -- Marcellin Berthelot, chemist, 1885

Science Daily: Abiotic Synthesis Of Methane: New Evidence Supports 19th-Century Idea On Formation Of Oil And Gas.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2009) — Scientists in Washington, D.C. are reporting laboratory evidence supporting the possibility that some of Earth's oil and natural gas may have formed in a way much different than the traditional process described in science textbooks.


Fungus FitzJuggler III said...


Herodatus vindicated?
Also know that it is well known Louis will agree? that ants, (termites are infact not ants but to an ancient Greek they might be acceptable) build mounds that contain many minerals including gold. The more gold, the more the liklihood of recoverable amounts nearby. Mining prospectors know this.

Louis Hissink said...


Louis Kervran, French Scientist.

KV said...


I wish you would have somehow also referenced the work at Carnegie (which you did post previously).

Good, back to the basics post.

LH - Thanks for additional food for thought. Also consider people survive in drought, multiyear drought... There has to be fascinating chemisty going on...

Jeffery Keown said...

I'm on record as being very on-board with Oil's abiotic methane.
I just wish some vindication would evince itself of actual oil. Lighter substances like methane and ethane had to have an abiotic origin, due to their presence on Mars and Earth's pre-biotic atmosphere, so this is not exactly "new."

Still, good to see the evidence leaning his way for once.

Anaconda said...

@ Jeffery Keown:

Keown wrote: "I just wish some vindication would evince itself of actual oil."

There is plenty of physical evidence that vindicates that all oil is abiotic.

From the laws of entropy to the physical location of oil deposits (oil deposits found above tectonic faults and oil deposits in ultra deep-water, ultra deep-drilling below the salt layer).

There is no scientific evidence that oil forms from biological detritus.

Please provide ANY evidence that backs up the idea of biological detritus forming into oil.

There certainly isn't any laboratory evidence that oil can form from biological detritus.

As far as the Science Daily article is concerned, this type of report (methane creation in the laboratory) has been repeated several times (a building of scientific evidence).

You know, Jeffery, I'm left wondering whether you have as yet taken the time to review and study the documents on the left-hand side-bar under abiotic oil.

Perhaps, once you do that, you won't be sitting on the side lines anymore.

KV said...


There is a fellow in Philadelphia, PA who takes bio-waste (pigs, chicken who know what else) and pressure cooks it to make diesel. Sorry, I don't have the link for the story that was in the main media.

Anaconda said...

@ Louis Hissink:

Your reference to Louis Kervran, French Scientist, brings up the issue of transmutation.

I have constructed a thread over at the forum for thunderbolts.info that documents the evidence of Abiotic Oil, but it also reviews scientific evidence that transmutation possibly plays a role in abiotic oil formation in conjunction with plasma dynamics (electrical energy).

Hydrocarbons in the Deep Earth?

But Louis are you implying with your reference to Louis Kervran that biological detritus may also play a role in oil formation via transmutation of biological detritus?

If so, keep in mind that less than 1% of biological detritus is preserved long term in the Earth's shallow crust (over 99% of biological detritus breaks down soon after deposition).

The thread is fairly long (there is a lot of scientific evidence for Abiotic Oil that needs to be covered), but it's a compact review of the evidence, a synthesis, if you will, of the evidence.

I recommend reviewing the thread.

Anaconda said...

@ KV:

Everybody knows about bio-diesel, nothing new there.

KV, what you are overlooking is that diesel and crude oil are not the same thing.

Crude oil is made-up of a series of hydrogen-carbon molecules with increasing chain length and complexity.

"Natural petroleum is a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules of several classes. The most common class of molecules in petroleum is that of the normal alkanes, or n-alkanes, which have the chemical formula CnH2n+2 and a chain-like structure."

From: Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum.

Highly recommended reading.

Diesel is a component of crude oil for sure, but nobody has duplicated crude oil in the laboratory using a process analogous to natural conditions in the shallow crust.

The Fischer-Tropsch process is not analogous to the supposed natural process that is claimed for converting biological detritus to crude oil (an issue covered in the above "Dismissal" paper).

KV, I suggest you are simply repeating what you have read and heard in a conclusionary fashion. Almost everybody who goes along with the biological hypothesis of crude oil formation does the same thing -- other people supposedly in the know "say". This is normal, but doesn't advance the argument from a scientific perspective.

Anaconda said...

@ Jeffery Keown:

Keown wrote: "Lighter substances like methane and ethane had to have an abiotic origin, due to their presence on Mars and Earth's pre-biotic atmosphere, so this is not exactly "new."

But there are carbonaceous meteorites that have hydrocarbons heavier than methane or ethane.

"The carbonaceous meteorites, including particularly the carbonaceous chondrites, are meteorites whose chemical composition includes carbon in quantities ranging from a few tenths of a percent to approximately six percent, by mass. The age of the carbonaceous meteorites is typically 3-4.5 billion years; and their origins clearly abiotic. The mineral structures in these rocks establish that the carbonaceous meteorites have existed at very low temperatures, much below the freezing point of water, effectively since the time of their original formation. Such thermal history of the carbonaceous meteorites eliminates any probability that there ever existed on them life, or biological matter. The evidence obtained from scientific investigations of the carbon material in carbonaceous meteorites has destroyed many claims which assert a biological connection between natural petroleum and biological matter."

"Significantly, much of the carbon material of the carbonaceous meteorites consists of hydrocarbons, as both solids and in liquid form. However, the petroleum material contained in carbonaceous meteorites cannot be considered to be the origin of the natural petroleum found in the near-surface crust of the Earth."

Dismissal of the Claims of a Biological Connection for Natural Petroleum.

The extensive passage from "Dismissal" is necessary because, Jeffery, your rational, which I quoted, above, as to why methane and ethane must be producible from abiotic sources (of course, methane is derived from biological detritus, as well) also applies to higher hydrocarbons, as conclusively demonstrated by the existence of carbonaceous meteorites.

Jeffery, if you are to be consistent with your own stated logic, then you must agree that Abiotic Oil is possible (the carbonaceous meteorites don't lie).

OilIsMastery said...


Looks like Time is only a decade late on that scoop: http://www.archaeology.org/0009/newsbriefs/cambyses.html

KV said...

Anaconda, you wrote: KV, I suggest you are simply repeating what you have read and heard in a conclusionary fashion.

I do not agree with you as I posted a lengthy two part comment when I decided to join in the discussion. Don't take afront to biological processes as they are necessary to process the mess we lifers create.

You may recall that my interests are from investment perspective first. I also have a exceptionally strong sci-eng research exp. I do not get trapped in buzzwords - whether from sciences or from old books or from old dead farts. I said bio-diesel as generic word, and I was specific that I don't have the link for the story, yet you go on pointificating and labelling as you have always done. I don't mind calling you a pompous ass, that Raptor will become when he grows up, unless of course,he changes.

OilIsMastery said...


All over it.

The Secret Life of Plants is on it's way to me now.

Anaconda said...

@ KV:

If I forgot your intial comments on Abiotic Oil I'm sorry and apologize.

But I was not concerned that your "pig products turned into bio-diesel" didn't have citation because it didn't matter as I stated bio-diesel isn't crude oil in the first place.

You can call me a pompous ass (or anything else, I won't cry) all you want, I'm just laying out the scientific evidence.

Abiotic Oil is not about buzz words anyhow, it's all tied to scientific evidence.

Actually, if anybody comes off around here as a pompous ass, it is you -- look in the mirror.

Pompous asses never admit to somebody else's evidence or knowledge -- that fits you to a "T".

I can't recall a single instance where you stated, words to the effect, "I didn't know that, thanks for the information", at least to any idea I presented.

And if I've forgotten a specific episode...well then, I'm sorry.

KV, what you do come off as is a pompous investor know it all.

Pompous asses are all about the personal, and apparently anybody who doesn't swallow your bilge, but rather actually calls you on it, runs afoul of your immensity.

KV said...


See the third comment (by me) on this post, and that should explain you why I think of you as pompous ass, mostly because you use so much space and so many words to achieve nothing.

Anaconda said...

Am I overly verbose :-)

True enough, but sometimes it's necessary to properly convey an idea.

Anaconda said...

Tell you what, I'll work on it.

Louis Hissink said...


The situation gets even more interesting - the one factor we have not considered is the role electricity plays in the mantle - apart from the deep hot biosphere idea.

One of the main arguments against biotic oil is the carbon isotope ratio for an archaean diamond (-35%), with the assumption that no life existed in the Archaean.

But It suddenly occurred to me that geochronology is based on the assumption that the earth was created 4,500Ma ago, and hence evolved to what it is today.

But this is not a scientific theory because of the assumption that it was created.

This inisght has enormous bearing on biological evolution as well - because it too was developed on the assumption of a distant creation after Lyell shifted it from 4004 BC to it's present date 4,500 Ma ago.

What evidence do we have that the earth was created? None.

I muse that maybe life is ubiquitous and spontaenously appears in various forms compatible with the total environmental conditions.

If the archaean diamond has a biotic istope signature, then maybe it is biotic.

The Kervran suggestion is basically for one not to ignore life as part of the explanation - and electricity is intimately involved in biological activity.

I'll have time to follow all this up during the Australian wet season (Jan to March) during which I am restricted to the office.

Anaconda said...


Yes, there is evidence electricity plays a role in the mantle.

Arie Sheyn said...


"The Secret Life of Plants" is a great book! One of my favorites!!!!

"Secrets of the Soil" (Tompkins and Bird, the same authors), is also really great. It has a nice section on "Dan Carlson", the man who uses music to grow world record plants.

"Joel Sternheimer" is another scientist who works with sound and plants... unfortunately I do now know any books with his ideas published. If anyone else does...?

"Teaming with Microbes" by Jeff Lowenfels Wayne Lewis, is another great book which shows how EASY it is to grow super healthy plants w/o chemical fertilizers. The complexity healthy soil can be stupefying.


Dinosaurs turning into oil/gasoline makes very little sense in lots of ways.

From my understanding, old animals and plants decay and decay until they turn into Humins and Fulvic acids... DNA does not break down much further than Fulvic acid.

So Humins contort themselves into oil? This does not make any sense. Am I wrong?