What natural purpose does petrolium/oil serve?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by Neildo, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

    What natural purpose does petrolium/oil serve for the Earth? I was talking with a friend online the other day and she was mentioning how we should leave nature alone because everything fits together and plays an important role in it and tampering with anything has it's consequences so obviously the topic of oil came up but we couldn't think of it's purpose. So we were thinking up some crazy ideas and we both mentioned how it could be natural lubricant for the Earth in much a ways as it is for our mechanical engines. Who knows, maybe we need to apply some of that earthly lubricant to techtonic plate areas, heh.

    So yeah, what purpose does it serve, if any, other than just being there?

    - N
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  3. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    All I know is it's fossil fuel, which means it's left over from dead things.

    It could be a cool lubricant for fault lines. Although we would need a lot more than we already have, so we can still power our cars. It's possible, but probably not economical.
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  5. Facial Valued Senior Member

    Everything's, well, just there. Doesn't exactly serve a purpose so much as we humans would interpret a use for it.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The key word is "fossil." Eventually it will probably metamorphose into a solid, like coal. Coal is also the residue of decayed organic material, it's just older. The chemical process may releast gaseous components. Natural gas is also the residue of decayed organic material. Fossil fuels actually occur in all three states: solid, liquid, and gas.

    As the earth ages and its core cools, tectonic activity will probably decrease in frequency and strength. It's possible that the planet will never again see the kind of activity that shoved the continents together and raised the giant mountain ranges. If that's the case, then the pockets of liquid petroleum and natural gas may never be thrust to the surface and they could stay locked down there forever.

    Or the earth could be hit by an asteroid or comet or a body from outside our solar system. That happens fairly often on a geologic time scale so it will surely happen again many more times during the planet's existence and perhaps even during our species' rein. That kind of impact could cause huge tectonic shifts or even ruptures, and release petroleum and/or natural gas to the surface and atmosphere.

    Check Velikovsky's interesting if not completely respected writings for more details.
  8. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    The idea that everything in nature 'has a purpose' is a bit of a mis-nomer.
    According to evolutionary theory, life will evolve over time if given environmental pressure to do so. This allows life to survive in slightly more hostile environments with each succeeding generation(provided the right random mutations), if a pressure to move out of the current environment is present.
    The world does not, in fact, require that everything has a purpose. However, given the amount of time that life has had to evolvle on Earth, it has found it's ways into most environments around the world.
    As the producer/preditor role evolved alongside, the crossing of environments became commonplace. Land preditors often rely on water-based food; the same water-based preditor may rely on photo-based producers and chem-based producers.
    Thus, we get the idea that messing with the ocean can effect bears, etc. the "everything has a place" theory.
    But infact, its not that everything has a place by some sort of universal law; its just that most things have come to be integral parts of the web, due to life evolutionarily modifying itself to use nearly everything it encounters.

    In this case, oil as an environment is not one that has naturally allowed much to evolve to survive in it - IMO, due to both the harshness of the substance, and to the lack of surface oil that is readily approached by new life. It doesn't provide sustinance for a naturally occuring life form (yet), and so its presence doesn't have a direct effect on the environment.
    Similarly, a substrata-pocket of pure hydrocholric acid does not provide a "useful" purpose environmentally - nothing depends on things that live there (because nothing lives there). However, usefullness in terms of geological preperation (ie, in the turning of stone to soil) may still be an indirect factor in the world ecology; for both a pocket of acid, and a pocket of oil.

    There are bacteria who live on crusty caps of industria strength anti-bacterial bottles. If a consumer evolved to use those bacteria as a food source, and that consumer ended up being an additional food source to an animal already in the full food web, then the bacteria suddenly has become a part of a system it once wasn't.
    I bet that even if we hadn't created bacteria which uses oil as a food (to clean up oil spills), nature would have evolved one over a long enough time and long enough exposure to oil.
    Heck, nature figured out a way to directly dissolve rock:
  9. Misha Registered Member

    I think it's obvious that most things if not all are used by other things on the Earth (and likely the universe). There are animals living in the heat ducts deep in the ocean. There are likely things using oil, although I don't know if anything lives on it or in it. Nothing necessarily has a purpose but I don't think that's how the question was asked; this is not a question about a divine purpose. However, I would wager that oil has some purpose or use in the "ecosystem" of the inner Earth. I'm surprised that no scientists here have thought about this possibility. I would be curious to hear about their opinions on this also.

    Another thing to think about is the caverns created by removing oil.

    The Earth is a delicate balance. How delicate we don't know. I have no idea if there's a divine purpose for the things in the world, but it's not beyond possiblity by any means. I do think that we need things to survive as animals.
  10. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    You can understand a purpose for oil in this way, it holds up the rock above it. When the oil is pumped out, they need to pump water back in, otherwise a sink hole is formed. Just because ecosystems form a balance doesn't mean that everything on or under the Earth is a functioning part of them. Occaisionally, oil comes to the surface like the Labrea Tar Pits, or a coal seam catches on fire, so in this way, the carbon and molecules trapped in the oil or coal gets recycled.

    Think of it this way, what is the natural function or purpose of a rock in orbit around the Earth that never intersects it?
  11. Misha Registered Member

    Well the moon affects the tides and serves to create breedigngrounds for various sealife. It also affects women, most likely (unless it's coincidental).

    I understand your point, however I think that because most things are a building block in our planet's eco system, then it is quite likely that all things are. I assume that everything has a use (the oil creates more rock/coal and holds up the rock above it).

    When a snowflake is made every part of it serves the whole. The snowflake may or may not be important as an object, but each part of the snowflake is important to create the structure.
  12. Laika Space Bitch Registered Senior Member

    I believe the main reason that water and other fluids are pumped into hydrocarbon reservoirs is to force the remaining petroleum or gas out. This yields more oil than relying on the pressure of overlying strata alone. Hydrocarbons tend to occupy pore spaces between sedimentary grains, rather than large cavities, although open faults and cavities in weathered limestone can also host them.
    Also, coal and oil are completely different substances. Generally, coal is formed when woody vegetation is buried under anaerobic conditions, then compressed and heated, causing the volatile components to escape. What's left is largely pure carbon (depending on the grade). Oil, on the other hand, tends to form when marine or lacustrine life (algae etc.) is deposited, buried and 'cooked'.

    All the talk of purposes and niches seems a little contrived and new-agey to me. I think that things just exist. Some life may manage to exploit them, but there is no 'Mother Nature' and no overall plan.
  13. Misha Registered Member

    I never mentioned an overall plan. I am talking about the planet's eco system. Surely oil plays a part other than as a fuel for us.

    You go to college at Pomona Laika?

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  14. Laika Space Bitch Registered Senior Member

    No, I'm in Britain. Why did you think I might?

    That thing in my post about the overall plan wasn't really directed at you Misha, but was more a reply to the opening post of the thread. I assume that something has evolved to fill that niche, but I'm afraid I'm no biologist.
    Actually, I just did a Google search on it, and it seems that the use of bacteria to combat oil spills is quite an established practice.
  15. TheHeretic Registered Senior Member

    "What natural purpose does petrolium/oil serve for the Earth?" Last time I checked humans were 100% natural, and we use that shit for energy. It serves a purpose for earth's intelligent species that may evolve.
  16. Misha Registered Member

    I knew a Laika in college who may have called herself "space bitch."

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    Interesting on the bacteria.

    Interesting information in all these posts.

    I think that oil serves a purpose much like the bottom block of a pyramid serves a purpose -- it holds up the upper blocks. Oil may well have other uses (we can take a block of the pyramid and use it nearer the top) and it may well have other uses than holding up the upper blocks literally. It's similar to asking what is the purpose of gold in rock. I don't know about gold (I can't think of any connections with it), but I think taking large quantities of decayed organic material out of the Earth may well have consequences. I suppose there's no way to know unless we use it all up.

    Incidentally you can still have a pyramid without all the bottom blocks, but at some point you erode your foundation irreparably. It would make sense that if oil is slippery (I'm not sure it is) it might have evolved some lubricating purpose.

    I got this from google:

    "Then, in the early 1990s, several groups of scientists found and cultured bacteria from oil drillings and other environments beneath oceans and continents, thus indicating that bacteria may live generally in the Earth's interior and not only in limited areas where superheated waters emerge at the surface: from four oil reservoirs nearly two miles below the bed of the North Sea and below the permafrost surface of Alaska's North Slope, from a Swedish bore hole nearly four miles deep and from four wells about a mile deep in France's East Paris Basin."

    That is from live in oil?&hl=en&start=4&client=safari

    (the actual page is not there)
  17. TIM LITTLE Registered Member

    Oils Purpose

    Could It Be That Oil Is An Insulator From The Heat Of The Core Of The Planet? Water That You Pump In Or Any Other Substance May Not HaVE The Same Consistances. So There For, May Not Keep The Heat And Or Some Types Of Radiation From Reaching The Surface.
  18. Imperfectionist Pope Humanzee the First Registered Senior Member

    1. don't type in caps
    2. thread is from 2 years ago so no one cares
    3. you suck at the internets
    4. purposes only exist in relation to the needs of entities
  19. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Oil is a carbon trap or sometimes refered to as a carbon sink..one of several. I ties up carbon keep it out of the atomsphere...until unsuspecting humans come along, did it up and burn it releasing the carbon back into the atomsphere.
  20. Imperfectionist Pope Humanzee the First Registered Senior Member

    thats not a purpose, if the earth had more carbon in the sky, life would evolve to be suited for it, or life would all die, either way its purposeless
  21. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    You are indeed imperfect Imperfectionist. The question was what roll does oil play in the world today...not what it could play in another time and place or if it was a good roll. Today, excess carbon is trapped in oil. It is a carbon trap.
  22. Imperfectionist Pope Humanzee the First Registered Senior Member

    that is not a natural purpose, only the outcome of geological process. everything gets buried eventually
  23. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Geological processes are not natural?

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