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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

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987