[FPSPACE] Gold and oil

Keith Gottschalk kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Sat Oct 23 15:46:46 EDT 2004

Gold and oil =20

	Robert Kennedy=92s email reminds us of what I read decades ago, =
Thomas Gold=92s hypothesis that oil is a geologic occurrence that seeps =
upwards like lava, not plankton that decays downwards. He also cautions us =
that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

	I had always thought that the strongest argument for the biological=
 origins of hydrocarbons was that they only occur in sedimentary rocks, =
unlike diamonds which also occur in volcanic pipes; nor does oil occur in =
metamorphose rocks.(sorry for sp.)

	But Robert=92s email does offer one extraordinary proof, which I =
knew of, but never made the connection before. He reminds us that the only =
known earthly occurrence of He is in certain oilfields. No one argues for =
any biological origins of that noble gas. The implication is that helium =
is alongside hydrogen the most primordial of our elements, and is =
inorganic in origin =96 and even the methane in gasfields may also be =
inorganic in origin.

	I suppose one test of this hypothesis might be to ask if any =
oilfields that were depleted & pumped out from the 1920s onwards, have =
shown signs of being refilled from below, in the manner of aquifers from =
above. On the other side of the argument, if radon pops up fairly =
uniformly around the world=92s cellars (bar more ofit near granite =
outcrops), why should the same not be true for helium?=20

	It seems rather hilarious that an email forum devoted to Spacefligh=
t happily gets itself side-tracked into matters 5 or 10 kms. underground! =
But these days, maybe one-twentieth of NASA press releases are about deep =
ocean currents; or molten currents in the earth=92s core that will make us =
southerners end up as northerners. I suppose the common thread is physics, =
and curiosity about our surroundings.=20


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