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No. 15: Spring 1981

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Is all natural gas biological in origin?

T. Gold and S. Soter, from Cornell, have championed the theory that earthquake lights, sounds, and precursory animal activities may be due to abiogenic natural gases escaping from deep within the earth. Perhaps some petroleum and natural gas reserves have been created by primordial hydrocarbons working their way outward through the crust rather than by the geochemical alteration of biological materials. Perhaps almost all petroleum is abiogenic -- some Russian scientists hold this view!

Western scientists are almost unani-mous that natural gas and oil are bio genic with maybe a touch of upwelling abiogenic hydrocarbons. A major reason given for this stance is that the biogenic theory has been so productive in locating hydrocarbon reserves. This, of course, leaves the earthquake lights and sounds still unexplained.

(Anonymous; "Abiogenic Methane? Pro and Con," Geotimes, 25:17, November 1980.)

Comment. The moral of this might be that seemingly inconsequential phenomena historically lead to wholesale changes in scientific thinking; viz., the insignificant advance in Mercury's perihelion.

Reference. The possible abiogenic origin of natural gas is covered at ESC16 in Neglected Geological Anomalies. For a description of this Catalog, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #15, Spring 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss