By Thomas Gold
This e-book units forth a collection of really debatable and astounding theories: First, it proposes that under the outside of the earth is a biosphere of higher mass and quantity than the biosphere the whole sum of residing issues on our planet's continents and in its oceans. moment, it proposes that the population of this subterranean biosphere are usually not crops or animals as we all know them, yet heat-loving micro organism that live on on a vitamin consisting exclusively of hydrocarbons that's, common fuel and petroleum. And 3rd and maybe such a lot heretically, the ebook advances the beautiful concept that such a lot hydrocarbons in the world should not the byproduct of organic particles ("fossil fuels"), yet have been a typical constituent of the fabrics from which the earth itself used to be shaped a few 4.5 billion years ago.
The implications are striking. the idea proposes solutions to often-asked questions: Is the deep scorching biosphere the place existence originated, and do Mars and different possible barren planets comprise deep biospheres? much more provocatively, is it attainable that there's a big shop of hydrocarbons upwelling from deep in the earth which can supply us with ample provides of gasoline and petroleum?
However far-fetched those rules look, they're supported by way of a starting to be physique of facts, and by way of the undeniable stature and seriousness Gold brings to any clinical debate. during this ebook we see a super and boldly unique philosopher, more and more a rarity in glossy technology, as he develops in all probability innovative rules approximately how our international works.
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Additional resources for The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels
27 What were they living on? )-rather than, as I would have it, the fuel source for the primary producers. In igneous rocks, methane is by far the most common fluid, second only to water. Methane is the most likely fuel source, carbon source, and hydrogen source at the base of the food chain. To my way of thinking, carbon dioxide is largely a product of microbial oxidation of hydrocarbons, not the source of carbon for the base of the food chain. This view-that hydrocarbons provide the carbon source as well as the fuel for biosynthesis at depth-has been greatly strengthened by a paper published in 1994.
Petroleum 37 38 CHAPTER 3 also has unifying features that suggest a similar mode of generation. How, then, is petroleum formed? At the present time, most petroleum geologists outside the former Soviet Union would say that the question has been completely answered-that deposits of biological debris, reworked by geological processes, account for all natural petroleum. Elevated temperatures (but not elevated to volcanic levels) and elevated pressures prevailing at depth will, given sufficient time, perform this feat of alchemy, transforming the remains of surface life buried within sediments-or so we are told.
Lake Vostok, which we have just discussed, will be an ideal place to check on the quantity of hydrocarbons that have come up from below since the ice cover formed. The quantities of methane hydrates contained there may be very large, they may even represent the major component of the lake. In the domain of high methane hydrates there is also macro-life, just as at the ocean vents. Little worms are found there that plough through the methane hydrates and the overlying water. 14 Their existence indicates that such methane hydrates have been there long enough to allow life to adapt to the strange circumstances.