The Abiogenic Theory of Petroleum Production

The Abiogenic Theory of Petroleum Production

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

I just ran across a Wikipedia entry for Austrian scientist Thomas Gold, proponent of the Abiogenic theory of petroleum production, who claimed that petroleum is not biology reworked by geology, but the other way around. From the Wikipedia article:

“Gold achieved fame for his 1992 paper “The Deep Hot Biosphere” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which presented a controversial view of the origin of coal, oil, and gas deposits, a theory of an abiogenic petroleum origin. The theory suggests coal and crude oil deposits have their origins in natural gas flows which feed bacteria living at extreme depths under the surface of the Earth; in other words, oil and coal are produced through tectonic forces, rather than from the decomposition of fossils. At the beginning of his 1992 paper Gold also referred to ocean vents that pump bacteria from the depth of the earth towards the ocean floor in support of his views…. Gold also published a book of the same title in 1999…He has been accused of stealing the abiogenic theory outright from Soviet geologists who first published it in the 1950s. Although he later credited Soviet research, it is claimed that he first published a paper on the abiogenic theory in 1979 without citing any of the Soviet literature on the subject. Gold’s defenders maintain that these charges are unfounded: they say that, after first formulating his views on petroleum in 1979, he began finding the papers by Soviet geologists and had them translated. He was both disappointed (that his ideas were not original) and delighted (because such independent formulation of these ideas added weight to the hypothesis). They insist that he always credited the Soviet work once he knew about it.”

Image from Wikipedia.


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