Dinosaurs on Titan?

Where else do those “fossil fuel” lakes come from?

Hydrocarbon seas on Titan,” reads the headline. Researchers from Cornell University posit that the frigid, liquid methane-soaked landscape on Saturn’s largest moon Titan could “give rise to and support life.”

As far as we know, the researchers said, Titan is the only world – other than Earth – where lakes, rivers and waterfalls carve and sculpt the landscape.

Peering through Titan's haze - NASA
Peering through Titan’s haze – NASA

Except these “”waterfalls” contain no water. Titan’s lakes and rivers are made of liquid methane and ethane.

Methane and ethane. Aren’t those considered fossil fuels?

Haven’t we been told that fossil fuels were created through the decomposition of dead plants and animals?

Haven’t we been told that fossil fuels, including petroleum, are biotic; that they are formed when large quantities of dead organisms buried far beneath the surface of the earth are subjected to intense heat and pressure?

Are we to believe that Titan’s vast hydrocarbon lakes were formed the same way, from large quantities of dead plants, zooplankton, algae and yes, even dinosaurs?

Are hydrocarbons abiotic?

Or is possible that the late Thomas Gold (also of Cornell University) was correct in saying that hydrocarbons are abiotic, created naturally from non-living resources?

“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,” said Gold.

Uranus and Neptune also have large admixtures of carbon in their atmospheres, said 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. “I am sure that there were no big stagnant swamps on Titan.”

Hydrocarbons and nitriles constantly fall from Titan’s skies, said the late Carl Sagan. Titan is socked in as a haze of organic solids formed high in its skies slowly fall and accumulate on its surface. (Carbon rain, in other words.)

Oceans of water are impossible on Titan (it’s too cold), but “vast quantities of hydrocarbons are expected,” said Sagan,

So let me ask you, if Titan’s “fossil fuel” lakes were not formed from dead plants and animals, including dinosaurs, why should earthbound hydrocarbons be any different?

(I talk more about carbon raining from the sky in Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps. See chapter 12, “Carbon Rain.”)

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