February 1, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Deep Sea Hydrocarbons Don’t Require Life

Remember the “Lost City” deep sea vents that were discovered by surprise in 2000 (12/13/2000)?  It appears that they are producing large quantities of hydrocarbons (methane, alkanes, ethene, acetylene, propene, propyne) without the help of living organisms (cf. 08/13/2002).  A team of scientists deduced that abiogenic reactions like the Fischer-Tropsch process and others may be responsible for the production of these molecules previously thought to require microbes or fossils, although some suspected that non-biological processes could be responsible.  The paper is published in Science.1


1.  Proskurowski et al, “Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at Lost City Hydrothermal Field,” Science, 1 February 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5863, pp. 604-607, DOI: 10.1126/science.1151194.

Possible implications of this study include non-fossil-fuel production of oil and natural gas, with resulting economic considerations, and changes in assumptions about dating methods.  Geologists and earth scientists may wish to pursue these leads.  For leads, look at what World Net Daily reported on the story.

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