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Scientists Developed Model of Oil Synthesis on Border of Earth's Mantle and Core
December 26, 2015 22:33

Researchers have simulated behavior of water and carbonic acid under heavy pressure and high temperature like those on border of the mantle and the core of the Earth. They found out that hydrocarbons start being generated in the presence of iron in this mix. This was reported to TASS by Konstantin Litasov, the leading researcher of the Geology and Mineralogy Institute of the Siberian Branch, RAS, in Novosibirsk and the Novosibirsk State University.

The Hypotheses of Oil Origin 
The main hypothesis of oil origin says that hydrocarbons were generated from remains of ancient live organisms over millions of years.
However there are data testifying to the existence of other mechanisms of oil origin. "Before us there were works showing that abiogenous synthesis can take place deep in the subsoil of the Earth. There is a lot of controversy among scientists about whether oil and gas can be of abiogenous origin. Debaters usually take extreme positions. My point of view is that 90 per cent of oil is of biological origin, and the rest of it is not biological”, - Mr. Litasov explained.

Results of Modeling
Konstantin Litasov and his colleagues from the Royal Technology Institute (Stockholm) simulated chemical processes that go on the border of the Earth's core and mantle. It is the depth of 2900 kilometers, pressure of 135 GPA and temperatures of about 2700-3700 centigrade.
"Through calculations we demonstrated that if iron is added to the mix of water and carbonic acid or just the set of carbon-hydrogen-oxygen, then hydrocarbons are generated. Without iron in system synthesis doesn't go", - Litasov told.

About Mass Transfer
Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen can reach the Earth interior due to the constant movement of tectonic plates that the Earth crust consists of. Since these plates are able to transport light elements, such as hydrogen and carbon, to the mantle, the so-called unsaturated hydrocarbons can be generated in the Earth interior as a result of these processes.

The hypothesis of production of the first organic molecules on the border with the Earth core may complement to popular theories, according to which the organic chemistry was brought to the Earth by comets or asteroids.

“It is speculation, of course, but nevertheless can be considered and developed as one of the hypotheses”, - the researcher concluded.

Results of the research work have been published in the Scientific Reports journal.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian scientists Russian science    

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