Excerpts

The quantity of black coal and petroleum
(and especially its natural gas component,
methane) are far greater than could be
explained by any theory that depends on
buried biological debris.    
—THOMAS GOLD

Chapter 12
. . . . . . .
CARBON RAIN
. . . . . . .

“I know a world midway in size between the Moon and Mars,” said Carl Sagan, “where the upper air is crackling with electricity; where the perpetual brown overcast is tinged an odd burnt orange; and where the stuff of life falls out of the skies like manna from heaven onto the unknown surface below.”

And what is that “stuff of life” that Sagan is talking about? That “manna from heaven”?

Hydrocarbons and nitriles constantly fall from Titan’s skies, said Sagan. Titan – the big moon of Saturn – is socked in as a haze of organic solids formed high in its skies slowly fall and accumulate on its surface. Oceans of water are impossible on Titan (it’s too cold), but “vast oceans of liquid hydrocarbons are expected.”

Created, in other words.

“It’s enough to make a Texas oil man drool,” exclaimed an article in the Seattle Times (21 Mar 1995). New images from the Hubble space telescope show that Titan may have lakes of oil as big as all five Great Lakes put together.

Rivers of oil

It may be oil, or it may be methane.

Photographs taken by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe, which landed on Saturn’s largest moon on January 14, 2005, show images of streams, springs and deltas that look eerily similar to river networks on earth, except that these networks were carved into the landscape by rivers of oil or liquid methane. Other images from the Cassini mission show hydrocarbon lakes, replete with shorelines, bays and channels. One lake, as big as North America’s Lake Ontario, has been dubbed Ontario Lacus.

We estimate that Titan “contains more hydrocarbon liquid than the entire known oil and gas reserves on Earth,” says Ralph Lorenz of Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

“Titan sports a complete hydrological cycle, one where it rains methane,” said an article in Sky and Telescope. (April 2005) The methane “evaporates, condenses, forms clouds, and rains back down onto Titan.” Other hydrocarbon byproducts form a photo-chemical smog in Titan’s atmosphere.

Same on Jupiter.

Our experiments in ionizing a reduced atmosphere show that “it rains crude oil on Jupiter,” said Willard Libby, in his 1969 talk “Space Science” (the same Libby who discovered radiocarbon dating).

Uranus and Neptune also have large admixtures of carbon in their atmospheres, said the late Thomas Gold in his 2001 book The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of fossil fuels. “It is now generally agreed that there is a profuse supply of hydrocarbons on many other bodies of the solar system, where no origin from surface biology can be suggested,” said Gold. “Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe and also in our solar system. I am sure,” Gold added, “that there were no big stagnant swamps on Titan.”

Why not here?

It seems such a simple question.

Why not here?

If carbon can form in Titan’s hazy skies, if crude oil can rain out of Jupiter’s skies, then why not here?


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