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“Fossil” fuels?

Ummm…well…see, now, uhh…okay, it’s like this…

Titan Has More Oil Than Earth
Saturn’s smoggy moon Titan has hundreds of times more natural gas and other liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, scientists said today.

The hydrocarbons rain from the sky on the miserable moon, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes. This much was known. But now the stuff has been quantified using observations from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

“Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material — it’s a giant factory of organic chemicals,” said Ralph Lorenz, a Cassini radar team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “This vast carbon inventory is an important window into the geology and climate history of Titan.”

At minus 179 degrees Celsius (minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit), Titan would be an awful place to live. Instead of water, liquid hydrocarbons in the form of methane and ethane are present on the moon’s surface, and tholins probably make up its dunes. The term “tholins” was coined by Carl Sagan in 1979 to describe the complex organic molecules at the heart of prebiotic chemistry.

SO then: might this mean that there were once Thunder Lizards in space? Or might it mean instead that modern theories purporting to explain the origin and formulation of “fossil fuels” are totally bassackwards and wrong? Of those two possible eventualities—1) complex carbon-based life forms not just extant but flourishing on icy, barren rocks throughout our solar system ages ago (but long gone now), or B) simple human error—which scenario seems more likely to be accurate?

What made me think of it was running across mention in several places of Tucker’s latest ep (one of which was here), wherein the topic is discussed. I read about this a while back, may have even brought it up before here, dunno. But Tucker’s riffage on it got me to Luxxle-searching a bit, which led me to the above short article, from 2008. And, well, here we all are. Fascinating subject either way, I think.

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4 thoughts on ““Fossil” fuels?

  1. As I recall, back in the 70’s some russian scientists posited the theory that natural earth process’s produce hydrocarbons and dead dinosaurs and plants had relatively little to do with it.

    1. Back in 1995, the Science Times reported idle oil fields were recharging themselves from the earths core.

    2. I remember reading about that about 15 years ago when “Peak Oil” was being bandied about.

      Seems like we have more proven hydrocarbon reserves now than we did back then.

      Just sayin’

      1. Better technology allows us to find the stuff better than before which is probably the primary reason we have “more” now than before.

        That doesn’t mean they are not being produced by unknown earth process causes…

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