A scientist from Moscow proved that any fossilized hydrocarbon matter enriched with polynaphthenic component can bleed crude oil when heated over 400 C. And the process happens very fast.
?Crude oil is forming in a matter of minutes, it doesn?t require millions of years. For millions of years the organic matter sits trapped between the layers of rock and collectors. It sits there waiting for the heat of the earth to blow out and turn it into a fresh oilfield,? says Doctor of Chemical Sciences Yuri Korolev at the Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences. That?s the conclusion he arrived after spending some thirty years systematically studying the makeup of all genetic types of natural organic matters.
The Roentgen rays have been used by scientists for a long time for identifying the makeup of various materials. The methods enable to identify the groups or phases a particular hydrocarbon is made up, be it shale oil, peat or crude. On analyzing more than three thousand specters of natural matters, the scientist found out that all the matters were mostly made of the same phases. The amount was the only thing that varied.
As it turned out, the fossilized hydrocarbons e.g. the humus ones can be lined up. Peat would be the first in line. It?s the very first mineraloid composed of the plants? dead parts. Pure graphite would be placed at the end of the line. ?The hydrocarbons tend to transform into pure graphite which is a thermodynamically stable condition after they pass many intermediate stages during the metamorphism in a natural environment,? says Yuri Korolev.
A polynaphthenic phase is one of the most interesting findings. Peat and brown coal are especially rich in it. Bituminous coal and stone coal also have it, though the latter is supposed to contain pure graphite only. The polynaphthenic compounds are the basics of crude oil. Therefore, it would be quite an ordinary thing if solid hydrocarbons should release liquid products by metamorphism. The process of metamorphosis is best carried out when materials are heated. That?s why the scientists decided to find out what would happen if solid natural hydrocarbons were heated to different temperatures in the next stage of their research.
?We managed to find out that the phase makeup undergoes dramatic changes if heated over 400 C,? says Korolev. ?The part of the polynaphthenic phase gets reduced almost in no time whereas the part of graphite grows significantly larger in a residue. In other words, crude oil is virtually flowing from solid matter. For example, peat evolves twice as much gas than it does oil. The ration is 2/3 in fibrous oxykerite while boghead coal gives off 80 percent. The latter is the product of decay of sapropel that is composed almost entirely of the polynaphthenic phase. The difference between the last two minerals is extremely important. Boghead coal is the product of decay and polymerization of fatty acids of microorganisms while oxykerite is formed of gaseous products, most likely of methane, carbon mono- and dioxide.
There?re a few important conclusions drawn form this study. Firstly, a heat treatment and a mineral?s polynaphthenic phase appear to be the principal factors of the crude oil formation. It doesn?t matter how exactly the phase came into being. It may have been formed either by gases containing carbon and oxygen or by decaying of living things.
In other words, both theories (biogenic and abiogenic) with regard to crude oil formation are true. Secondly, crude oil appears to be capable of forming at any given time. A long while ago scientists put forth a theory of the so-called sources-reactors prompting the formation of crude oil when heated above 400 C. According to that theory, those reactors are confined to the deep fracture zones in the earth?s crust. Oil is born once a heat flow at temperatures exceeding 400 C reaches a polynaphthenic deposit. The volcanic activity areas create most favorable conditions. It?s true that one can see a film of freshly formed oil at the surface of a caldera of the Uzon volcano in Kamchatka.
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