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Name: Jerry
Status: n/a
Grade: other
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2011-2012


Question:
Is oil still being formed in an ongoing fashion by geologic and physical processes just as it was millions of years ago?



Replies:
Jerry,

The process of converting organic detritus into oil only requires that the organic material (dead plants, animals, etc) undergo decomposition in an oxygen poor environment. Long chain hydrocarbons are formed in this way. So in places where there is a lot of organic material buried under rock or below the pinocline of some body of water (a depth and temperature of water where little roiling happens and hence oxygen does not appreciably mix in), then the conversion of organic material into oil should be happening.

This might lead you to wonder why are we concerned that fossil fuel is being depleted - and this goes to how much oil is being extracted and used, versus how much oil is being produced by the natural process.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius) Canisius College



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