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No. 34: Jul-Aug 1984

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The Carbon Problem

The "carbon problem" seems to hit the scientific creationists the hardest, but it also has interesting implications for today's earth. Consider first where the carbon in the earth's crust resides:

Petroleum 201 x 1018 grams Coal 15 Limestone 64200 Biosphere 0.3

In this article, these figures are made more understandable by physical descriptions of some of the truly colossal deposits of oil, coal, and limestone. For example, in the Canadian Rockies, the Livingstone limestone was deposited 2000 feet deep on the margin of the Cordilleran geosyncline but thins eastward to about 1000 feet in the Front ranges.

"...it may be calculated to represent at least 10,000 cubic miles of broken crinoid plates."

Two implications are:

  1. Even if the earth's biosphere were completely converted into oil, coal, and limestone each year, the earth would have to be far older than the 6000 years desired by the creationists, unless most of the carbon deposits had non-biological origins, which seems unlikely.

  2. The immense inventory of carbon tied up in biologically produced deposits was originally abiogenic. Where did it come from?

Abiogenic methane and carbon dioxide released from the crust seem the most likely sources. This means that the crust must have once had, and may still have, prodigious supplies of methane. T. Gold and S. Soter have long argued that the earth's crust still retains and sometimes releases methane.

(Morton, Glenn R.; "The Carbon Problem," Creation Research Society Quarterly, 20:212, 1984.)

Comment. Methane gas releases may account for several anomalies, such as earthquake lights and unidentified detonations.

From Science Frontiers #34, JUL-AUG 1984. 1984-2000 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