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Chris Nedin already answered some of the questions from Christine Mills
(5/6/96; 6:53p) about dinosaurs possibly being a source for petroleum.
A number of years ago, a major oil company (Texaco??) ran some
commercials using animation to show how difficult it is to find oil, as
underground dinosaurs (sauropods) kept dodging the drill bit, cutely
croaking the whole time. So the Geo Metro folks aren't the first.
>I always believed petroleum was formed from ancient marine
That is correct--marine algae, in fact.
>Is there a certain time period that all petroleum dates from?
No. Oil is forming today. It has apparently been forming at least since
the Cambrian. There are biomarker hints that there may have been
Precambrian oil deposits at one time. That's why major oil companies
occasionally drill into Precambrian deposits--in Iowa, Illinois, and
Kentucky recently (like, in the last decade), for example.
This one I'm not certain about, but I believe it is true that significant
amounts of oil generation have not occurred in terrestrial deposits of
any age. In any case, terrestrial vegetation is prone to produce natural
gas rather than liquid hydrocarbons. There are significant Pleistocene
(and older) gas reservoirs in the Gulf Coast region, because the
Mississippi has been dumping so much particulate vegetal matter into the
Tell people that these commercials with the incorrect information in them
are run simply because they are cute, hence thought to be effective (the
end justifies the means!). Having marine bacteria alter gobs of dead
algal tissue just wouldn't have the same appeal.
Norman R. King tel: (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences fax: (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712 e-mail: email@example.com