Deep Carbon Pollution?

From the American Association for the Advancement of Science, this press release was for some reason included in the atmospheric science category of Eurekalert.

Carbon cycle reaches Earth’s lower mantle, Science study reports

Evidence of carbon cycle found in ‘superdeep’ diamonds From Brazil

This release is available in Portuguese and Spanish.

The carbon cycle, upon which most living things depend, reaches much deeper into the Earth than generally supposed—all the way to the lower mantle, researchers report.

Mineral Inclusion: Like an insect in amber, mineral inclusions trapped in diamonds can reveal much about the Earth's deep interior. The study by Walter et al. in Science reveals mineral inclusions that originated in oceanic crust subducted into the lower mantle. Credit: Image © Science/AAAS

The findings, which are based on the chemistry of an unusual set of Brazilian diamonds, will be published online by the journal Science, at the Science Express Web site, on 15 September. Science is published by AAAS, the non-profit, international science society.

“This study shows the extent of Earth’s carbon cycle on the scale of the entire planet, connecting the chemical and biological processes that occur on the surface and in the oceans to the far depths of Earth’s interior,” said Nick Wigginton, associate editor at Science.

“Results of this kind offer a broader perspective of planet Earth as an integrated, dynamic system,” he said.

The carbon cycle generally refers to the movement of carbon through the atmosphere, oceans, and the crust. Previous observations suggested that the carbon cycle may even extend to the upper mantle, which extends roughly 400 kilometers into the Earth. In this region, plates of ocean crust—bearing a carbon-rich sediment layer—sink beneath other tectonic plates and mix with the molten rock of the mantle.

IMAGE:This figure shows the location of the Juina-5 kimberlite in Brazil, where the raw diamonds come from. Thousands of diamonds are examined in order to identify stones that might contain…Click here for more information.

Seismological and geochemical studies have suggested that oceanic crust can sink all the way to the lower mantle, more than 660 kilometers down. But actual rock samples with this history have been hard to come by.

Michael Walter of the University of Bristol and colleagues in Brazil and the United States analyzed a set of “superdeep” diamonds from the Juina kimberlite field in Brazil. Most diamonds excavated at Earth’s surface originated at depths of less than 200 kilometers. Some parts of the world, however, have produced rare, superdeep diamonds, containing tiny inclusions of other material whose chemistry indicates that the diamonds formed at far greater depths.

The Juina-5 diamonds studied by Walter and colleagues contain inclusions whose bulk compositions span the range of minerals expected to form when basalt melts and crystallizes under the extreme high pressures and temperatures of the lower mantle.

IMAGE:Raw diamonds are screened for those hosting inclusions. The key to discovering the minute inclusions is meticulous polishing of the diamonds on a jeweler’s polishing wheel.Click here for more information.

Thus, these inclusions probably originated when diamond-forming fluids incorporated basaltic components from oceanic lithosphere that had descended into the lower mantle, the researchers have concluded.

If this hypothesis is correct, then the carbon from which the diamonds formed may have been deposited originally within ocean crust at the seafloor. A relative abundance of light carbon isotopes in the Juina-5 diamonds supports this idea, since this lighter form of carbon is found at the surface but not generally in the mantle, the authors say.

The diamond inclusions also include separate phases that appear to have “unmixed” from the homogenous pool of material. This unmixing likely happened as the diamonds traveled upward hundreds of kilometers into the upper mantle, the researchers say.

After the diamonds formed in the lower mantle, they may have been launched back near the surface by a rising mantle plume, Walter and colleagues propose.

###

This research was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and the National Science Foundation.

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52 Responses to Deep Carbon Pollution?

  1. John Day says:

    Yes, the deep hot biosphere exposes the myth of “fossil” fuels:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin

  2. FredT says:

    “what am I to think?”

    Thinking at all would be a start. This release is completely innocuous and actually quite interesting – yet you have to dress it up with irrelevant references to Al Gore and CO2 emissions when neither have anything to do with it. Very weak.

  3. SSam says:

    And if crustal carbon is making it this deep that blows a wide gaping hole in the “abiotic” oil idea.

  4. William Abbott says:

    biogenic hydrocarbon signatures are difficult refute. Maybe the depths of the crust, even the mantle are teeming with chemosynthetic organisms. There are some truly weird organisms living deep within the vents at the bottom of the ocean.

  5. Patrick Davis says:

    From the article…

    “This study shows the extent of Earth’s carbon cycle on the scale of the entire planet, connecting the chemical and biological processes that occur on the surface and in the oceans to the far depths of Earth’s interior,” said Nick Wigginton, associate editor at Science.”

    Most *MOST* of the carbon on this 3rd rock from the sun *IS* stored in rocks (In their heads). SHEESH!

  6. Anthony Watts says:

    FredT think about this:

    If the “carbon cycle” reaches to the mantle, then when diamonds eventually come to the surface, how do they continue in the cycle? Last I heard, they don’t interact with much. There’s no cycle otherwise.

    This study, citing “carbon cycle” seems to only include the phrase in passing, perhaps as a way to get funded. There’s lots of “may haves” and “could haves” in that press release. Think about that.

  7. trbixler says:

    I wonder if this planet is the end game for our planet? Oh wait they didn’t find any SUVs, CO2 or water.

    “Astronomers discover planet made of diamond”
    “The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/25/us-planet-diamond-idUSTRE77O69A20110825

  8. mwhite says:

    4 days left to watch,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0148vph

    The Core, half way through the program a description of the solid inner core including its temperature.
    4700 kelvin the same as the surface of the sun, not millions of degrees.

    Worth watching if you can

  9. John Marshall says:

    Diamonds are quite old. Many million years to a couple of billion or more. (max 4.6billion). So these ‘scientists’ think that carbon found in diamond is pollution. C**p.

    Carbon is found in the sun so it is odds on that this planet has carbon mixed in with everything else in the mantle. In fact petroleum has been found in igneous rock so it may itself be formed there, or at least some parts of it.

    A crackpot theory? We will see but discoveries of petroleum seem to be found in places that were discounted when considering the existing theory of formation. I am open to any discussion.

  10. Claude Harvey says:

    Re:FredT says:
    September 17, 2011 at 6:20 am

    “This release is completely innocuous and actually quite interesting – yet you have to dress it up with irrelevant references to Al Gore and CO2 emissions when neither have anything to do with it. Very weak.”

    Although publishing the subject paper in the “atmospheric science” category does seem rather odd, I have to agree with Fred on this one. That brings me to another question: “Are Gore’s antics driving us all mad as hatters?”

  11. johnmcguire says:

    I hope those researchers are doing this research on their own dime. I wouldn’t pay them a cent myself.

  12. What’s the estimated wave length of this cycle? Is it millions or billions of years? It can’t be considered a rapid climate changing factor. The study does show that their are inorganic processes that fractionate and redistribute the two stable isotopes over long time periods. That observation calls into question the use of the C 13/12 index as evidence that burning fossil is the primary cause of the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. There are more rapid inorganic fractionation and redistributing processes that can affect atmospheric C 13/12 values.

  13. Mark Hladik says:

    Let us assume that there exists some level of validity to the study. In principal, I see nothing major wrong with it, other than (possibly) the time scale of the events they describe.

    If the study is suggesting that PRESENT-DAY CO2 concentrations are showing up in the Brazilian diamonds, then we have a problem. The subducted sea-floor (and its attendant sediments), going through a melting process, then rising through the crust, and emplacing the diamond-bearing kimberlites, would have required some tens of millions of years to complete one “cycle”. At the earliest, the “carbon” showing up in these super-deep diamonds, would be from the Cretaceous, or possibly the early Paleogene (Paleocene/Eocene, for those on the west side of the pond).

    The press release, and Anthony’s summary are just a bit ambiguous on this point. If the paper is posted somewhere, I will do my best to critique it, should it show up.

    Not being critical of you Anthony; I am actually a vigorous supporter of your work, and will do whatever I can to help out. Love WUWT, and try to visit often.

    Best regards to all,

    Mark H.

  14. ImranCan says:

    It is almost beyond bizarre that the well know phenomenon of diamond creation somehow gets tarred with some sort of perverse brush to create some kind of weird pseudo connections between diamonds and the inferred ‘pollution’ related to the carbon cycle.

  15. LearDog says:

    Shameless huckstering – the diamond fluid inclusion academics (working on this ‘problem’ since the 70′s (H.O.A Meyer)) are trying to latch onto the AGW bandwagon. It revealw the breadth of the scientific corruption….

    Ugh.

  16. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    William Abbott says:
    September 17, 2011 at 6:35 am
    There are some truly weird organisms living deep within the vents at the bottom of the ocean.

    Allow me a slight correction: the organisms of which you speak live adjacent to these hydrothermal vents, which erupt sulphide-rich brines (with lots of CO2) into the adjacent seawater. Temperature probes show highly superheated water up to 460C, which does not flash to steam because of the deep-sea pressures. Any bug trying to live “in” this plume would have to be a heckuva swimmer!

  17. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    And oh dear, one mustn’t forget calcium CARBONate, among others.

  18. Ric Werme says:

    Oh dear, do you realize this means that carbon sequestration in old natural gas wells isn’t deep enough to keep it from coming back? We’re gonna have to pump it 600 km deep to be safe! :-)

    Setting aside the “carbon pollution” and even “carbon cycle” comments, these look like fascinating samples for study.

  19. Dave Springer says:

    Anthony Watts says:
    September 17, 2011 at 6:38 am

    FredT think about this:

    If the “carbon cycle” reaches to the mantle, then when diamonds eventually come to the surface, how do they continue in the cycle? Last I heard, they don’t interact with much. There’s no cycle otherwise.

    This study, citing “carbon cycle” seems to only include the phrase in passing, perhaps as a way to get funded. There’s lots of “may haves” and “could haves” in that press release. Think about that.

    It’s true that diamonds are forever and thus the carbon that composes them is effectively removed from the carbon cycle. What probably isn’t true is that all biotic carbon that reaches great depth turns into diamond. One might reasonably suppose only a diminishingly small fraction of it does and that the remainder remains free to participate in the carbon cycle.

    This was a pretty innocent article and your knee jerk reaction to it was less than thoughtful and some might even call it downright ugly.

  20. Pamela Gray says:

    Your headline was a “if it bleeds it leads” kinda thing. Not one of your better moments.

  21. Anthony Watts says:

    @Pamela Ah, well, maybe it just struck me wrong I was quite taken aback to find it in the atmospheric press release section of Eurekalert…it seemed frivolous. – Anthony

  22. Doug in Seattle says:

    I agree with FredT that this is an interesting story, but then again I am a geologist. I also reluctantly agree with Fred that Anthony went a bit far in tarring the story with the Al Gore reference, but I do get Anthony’s point about the placement of the press release.

  23. Anthony Watts says:

    @Pamela @Doug @FredT

    I decided that my lead in comments were a bit over the top, probably owing to how miserable I feel today. I was up at 5:30AM, with an ear infection, and it’s my birthday.

    So I’ve deleted my intro comments except for my surprise at the inclusion into the atmosphere science section of Eurekalert, and will let the article stand on it’s own merits and faults sans my commentary.

    I’m done for the morning, the clinic is open now, so headed there. – Anthony

  24. JDN says:

    Yet another field that can’t perform experiments is heard from. “Sciences” that don’t have a performance principle frequently end up being science fiction. See Cosmology for the grand-daddy of fictional -ologies.

  25. David Y says:

    Happy b-day! We all hope you feel better asap. A beautiful day here in Norcal–go soak up some sun!

  26. Mike D in AB says:

    Get better Anthony, you have far more friends rooting for you (and your and yours health).
    Subduction zones (at the edges of some plates) feed material to the upper mantle. From there the currents in the mantle would spread them all over, but how they spread out is largely a mystery. It’s well known that some of the water, after getting super-heated and pressurized at depth, dissolves sulphur, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, silver, gold… it’s a long list, but I’ll stop there. When the pressure builds up high enough it can fracture the rock around it, forcing its way outwards and eventually losing pressure and/or temperature enough that the metals are dropped from suspension. Do this hundreds of thousands of times, and you can get a porphyry deposit, some of which are among the largest mines in the world. Black smokers at depth are doing the same things, hydro-thermal fluids high in metals that precipitate out when they hit the relatively cold and low pressure deep sea waters. These beds of oceanic deposition are called massive sulphides, and are among the richest mines in the world when they come to or near surface.

  27. Mike D in AB says:

    er, far more friends rooting for you than you know. I must remember to finish typing one thought before developing the next. :-(

  28. M.A.Vukcevic says:

    There is a short step in pressure and temperature from graphite to a diamond.
    See Fig.1 in http://lbruno.home.cern.ch/lbruno/documents/Bibliography/LHC_Note_78.pdf
    Preidotitic (P-type) diamonds, of non-organic carbon, are normally found crystallized in the subcratonic lithosphere, originating from the deep within the Earth’s mantle.
    Eclogitic diamonds (E-type) , are formed from organic carbon accumulation transported in to the mantle by tectonic subduction and are generally older, up to 3.3 Ga.
    Both types are formed in the presence of a mineral seed, which reduces the energy barrier required for the initial nucleation of a diamond monocrystal.
    Brazilian and diamonds found in CAR (Central African Republic) have very similar impurities and it is assumed that they were formed before continents split up.

  29. H.R. says:

    Honest question: Is it expensive to buy a bunch of diamonds for this research?

    Inclusions lower the value of diamonds, but one of the diamonds in the picture had what looked to me a large inclusion in the midst of a large diamond that looked inclusion-free over the rest of the diamond. I can’t figure if they are getting by using industrial grade diamonds or gem quality with large inclusions for the study.

    I ask because the grant would say in essence, “Give us a bunch of money to buy diamonds so we could study them.” (Come to think of it, my wife would be interested in such a grant but she’d prefer to study faceted diamonds with no inclusions.)

  30. R. Shearer says:

    SSam says:
    September 17, 2011 at 6:28 am
    And if crustal carbon is making it this deep that blows a wide gaping hole in the “abiotic” oil idea.

    Good point, maybe not a “gaping hole” but counters one of the “abiotic” argument, nonetheless.

  31. davidmhoffer says:

    Anthony;
    when diamonds eventually come to the surface, how do they continue in the cycle? Last I heard, they don’t interact with much.>>>

    This isn’t true Anthony. Wave a large sparkley diamond around in front of the lady of your choice…I have no idea what forces are at work, but there is clearly some sort of interaction taking place… I tried it with crunched up tinfoil and got no response at all….

    Happy b-day, and heope you’re feeling well soon!

  32. William Abbott says:

    Mike Bromley
    (I don’t know you well enough to call you Canucklehead)
    Extremophile Archaea are the root of the food chain in the biotic communities that live on the thermal vents at the ocean’s floor. These Archeon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaea do live deep within the vents in such a hostile, extraordinary, environment we can’t even examine them. No one has ever looked at them under a microscope or experimented with them. They are Methanogens and produce methane as a metabolic by-product. The bacteria, tube-worms, shrimp, gastropods and other exotic organisms that compose these communities are weird enough… but … I think your post confirms this… you can’t even imagine how unworldly the vent dwelling Archeon is.

  33. rbateman says:

    Imagine a carbon cycle not unlike El Nino/La Nina, where carbon is buried in a downwelling of crustal movement over a billion years. Along comes man, who thinks geology began yesterday as we began to use these energy sinks. The Alarmist does not stop for a moment to consider the possibility of the buried carbon coming back up in an upwelling. Hence, CO2 from vulcanism (an obvious upwelling) is discounted because it does not fit into the belief system. It is scarcely knowable where Earth might be in the upwelling/downwelling cycle.

  34. Shanghai Dan says:

    Did the authors of the paper consider that maybe it’s just the Morlocks placing them deep, to confuse us, and get us into a helpless state so as better to evolve into Eloi?

    About as sound a theory as many in the AGW world…;)

  35. ferd berple says:

    from wikipedia:
    “Archaea exist in a broad range of habitats, and as a major part of global ecosystems,[7] may contribute up to 20% of earth’s biomass.[107] The first-discovered archaeans were extremophiles.[70] Indeed, some archaea survive high temperatures, often above 100 °C (212 °F), as found in geysers, black smokers, and oil wells.”

    No one knows how deep water or life extends within the earth. Volcano’s erupt about 70% water and 30% carbon. About the same ratio of water as in the human body.

    Limestone has 1000 times more carbon that any other known source on earth. Water holds more hydrogen than any other known source on earth. Hydrocarbons are formed from carbon and hydrogen and energy. Heat and pressure are forms of energy found within the earth. Limestone and water are found within the earth. Therefore it is impossible that hydrocarbon can be formed within the earth from limestone and water. Not.

    A PRELUDE TO H. G. WELLS’ DREAM

    In 1914 H. G. Wells predicted that peaceful nuclear energy might profoundly affect the relations between nations. In his remarkable The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind Wells foretold the invention of the nuclear bomb and its use in war. After this, said Wells, would come a new age of plenty, based on the availability of cheap and unlimited energy. In this energy-abundant world, adventitious maldistributions of natural resources would no longer be a cause of international strife. The world would become a much more stable place if energy, ubiquitous and cheap, could replace other raw materials: if, say, natural hydrocarbons were replaced by hydrocarbons derived from limestone, water and energy; or if unfertile deserts were rendered fertile by huge desalting complexes driven with the new energy source.

  36. TedK says:

    Last I read about it, diamonds are crystallized carbon. It’s pretty tough to decide any relevance in carbon isotope ratios unless one has identified a verified and reproducible baseline for all carbon isotope behavior and processes from earth’s core to space diamonds. This isotope behavior profile does not exist, especially lacking is the behavior of carbon under the pressures and temperatures 200km deep. There are theories, but anywhere near proved, no. It’s a stretch to imply the carbon in a diamond was once from CO2, let alone whether it was oceanic crust CO2 or carbonate carbon. Long before life existed our atmosphere was believed to be primarily CO2 and before that, who knows what form carbon was in.

    This phrase (my emphasis):

    “…A relative abundance of light carbon isotopes in the Juina-5 diamonds supports this idea, since this lighter form of carbon is found at the surface but not generally in the mantle, the authors say.”

    implies that either they are guessing or they have the solution in mind and are trying to find proof. This is like connecting the dots in a picture where the page has very few dots and they’re not in a line.

    Our knowledge of mantle composition is weak at best and is mostly based on the reading of seismic sensors. Once mantle material erupts, we can examine the remains at the surface or from drill holes but that does not mean we have any idea what is happening or why beyond these small spot samples. An analogy would be describing blood flow mechanics and cellular chemistry from dried blood cells scraped from a scab. Once anyone refers to the lower mantle composition and processes, our knowledge approaches zero and is basically restricted to gross assumptions. The associate editor at Science who paints these diamonds as evidence of the connected biological and chemical carbon cycle is apparently getting his explanations for science from… I do not know where…, my tea leaves indicate it was a dark place.

    Unless of course, they used a model; we all know models are infallible.. /sarc

    Next, they’ll identify the isotopes in meteorite microdiamonds and prove alien life exists.

  37. William Abbott says:

    ferd berple says:
    September 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    ….Therefore it is impossible that hydrocarbon can be formed within the earth from limestone and water. Not.

    The specific hydro-carbons that we retrieve in extracted “fossil fuels” are molecularly structured as though they are derived from organic sources. I mustn’t pretend I’m a chemist. But it is my understanding the chemistry of our oil, gas and methane hydrates, is organic chemistry. Claude Harvey posted on this thread, this is his long suit. I think he can explain the whys and wherefores. Abiotic Oil theory is an appealing explanation for the vast quantities of hydro-carbon we keep finding when we drill deep – but it doesn’t explain the organic signature/structure of the molecules.

    You & HG Wells are certainly correct in tying the cost of energy to the principal impediment to wealth and its distribution. We are so much ricer today than we were in the past (worldwide) because of the great advances we have made in reducing the costs of energy.

  38. Or it may have something to do with Carbon being the fourth most abundant element in the universe (4600 ppm by mass, that is, 0.46%, after Hydrogen [74%], Helium [24%] & Oxygen [1%]). It does not have to be recycled stuff, it could get there when the Earth was formed.

  39. William Abbott says:
    September 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Abiotic Oil theory is an appealing explanation for the vast quantities of hydro-carbon we keep finding when we drill deep – but it doesn’t explain the organic signature/structure of the molecules.

    Perhaps remnants of bacteria feeding on oil as it is making its way up through rocks could explain the organic signature. But biotic theory surely can’t explain either Helium in oil fields or dissolved high order diamondoid molecules in solution. Neither can it explain tiny mineral oil inclusions found in macroscopic natural diamonds.

  40. ferd berple says:
    September 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Limestone has 1000 times more carbon that any other known source on earth. Water holds more hydrogen than any other known source on earth. Hydrocarbons are formed from carbon and hydrogen and energy. Heat and pressure are forms of energy found within the earth. Limestone and water are found within the earth. Therefore it is impossible that hydrocarbon can be formed within the earth from limestone and water. Not.

    There is an experiment which has the advantage it was actually performed.

    “The fifth section reports the experimental results obtained using equipment specially designed to test the predictions of the previous sections. Application of pressures to 50 kbar and temperatures to 1,500°C upon solid (and obviously abiotic) CaCO₃ and FeO wet with triple-distilled water, all in the absence of any initial hydrocarbon or biotic molecules, evolves the suite of petroleum fluids: methane, ethane, propane, butane, pentane, hexane, branched isomers of those compounds, and the lightest of the n-alkene series.”

    PNAS August 20, 2002 vol. 99
    no. 17 10976-10981
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.172376899
    The evolution of multicomponent systems at high pressures: VI. The thermodynamic stability of the hydrogen–carbon system: The genesis of hydrocarbons and the origin of petroleum
    J. F. Kenney, Vladimir A. Kutcherov, Nikolai A. Bendeliani and Vladimir A. Alekseev

    On the other hand, no hydrocarbon beyond methane (CH₄) was ever made from organic matter in the lab under conditions close to thermodynamic equilibrium, at moderate pressure and temperature (up to several kbar and several hundred Kelvin).

  41. As a diamond geologist (ex De Beers) I find this inclusion chemistry of the diamond interesting. The carbon isotope ratio is really interesting as it supports a previous isotope ratio measurement that pointed to a biotic carbon origin for an archaean aged diamond. That result forms the basis of the view that C12/C13 ratios cannot discriminate between biotic and abiotic carbon sources. This result however suggests that the age determination might be wrong, or that the belief that life only started in the Cambrian is wrong, and that C12/13 ratios indeed can discriminate carbon origin.

    As for plate tectonics, modern seismic tomography shows subduction is a fiction, so the model pursued here is fanciful. Super deep diamonds also suggest great age, but the presence of the abundant C12 isotope suggests something is amiss with the existing hypotheses and that there may indeed be a hot deep biosphere as inferred by the late Tommy Gold from his deep drilling data at the Siljan Ring.

    And to make matters worse, recent Russian thinking on Kimberlite genesis suggests these rocks might be shallow sourced from near surface subterranean electric discharges associated with viscous plasma phenomena (magma is plasma). Not only are P and T crucial factors in determining mineral phase relationships, but some of us have started to apply an extra factor, the electric field into the equations for phase equilibria. We already know that subjecting rocks to shallow (Greenschist facies) metamorphism can with elevated O2 fugacity produce mineral assemblages diagnostic of greater depths (amphibolite facies), so the effect of a variable electric field in the phase equilibria of minerals may be quite important.

    And to make matters even more interesting this morning Queensland experienced a 4.5 magnitude earthquake under Bowen (large coal mining region in Australia). Nearest suduction zone is???? This earthquake might be due to an explosive release of methane at depth, (the most likely) and/or related to some subterranean electric discharge. But it sure isn’t due to plate tectonics.

    One thing is sure, the science is certainly not settled.

  42. RoHa says:

    What? There is carbon underground as well?

    We’re doomed!

  43. Ron House says:

    Louis Hissink says:
    “As for plate tectonics, modern seismic tomography shows subduction is a fiction,”

    Well do tell! Where do we read about this discovery?

  44. Ron House

    http://davidpratt.info/subduct.htm as published by Dong Choi in the Journal of Scientific exploration recently. I merely note that Plate Tectonics supporters have many of the intellectual hallmarks of The Team of the global warming camp. I would also read the various papers published under the auspices of the New Concepts of Global Tectonics group at http://www.ncgt.org – this group will be presenting various papers and articles at the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane during 5-10 August 2012 in Australia.

  45. Incidentally the paper cited above (Choi) was first published in 2004 NCGT Newsletter No 34, p21-26.

  46. William Abbott says:

    Who is Tommy Gold? I didn’t know anybody else speculated about a hot, deep, biosphere. I don’t have ANY basis except the Archaea living inside the thermal vents make it possible. And I’m told abiotic oil theory can’t account for the organic chemistry of oil. Louis, are most diamonds formed from organic carbon sources?
    I’m really happy to read your post.

  47. Jack Simmons says:

    The diamond industry has a real opportunity.

    Twist this report (study) just a bit, and convince women everywhere that owning a diamond ring helps stop global warming.

    See, every diamond has sequestered carbon. In fact, it is carbon.

    So, if you buy a bunch of diamonds, you’re preventing the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

    See, isn’t life full of uninvestigated opportunities?

  48. Kev-in-Uk says:

    I’d have to read the paper very carefully – but only after reviewing books and notes I made some 30+ years ago during my original geology degree regarding phase diagrams, mineralogy, etc! As I recall, the crystallization of minerals (from igneous rocks) occurs at given temps and pressures and is dependent on the molten chemical ‘mix’ available, rate of cooling, etc, etc. I am struggling, on a casual read of the info given here, to see how they can make such ‘depth’ conclusions based on ‘included’ mineralogy within the diamonds.

  49. RoHa says:

    @ Jack Simmons.

    Don’t give them ideas. (Women or diamond companies.)

  50. Spector says:

    I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to use diamond-forming temperatures and pressures to develop a process for making synthetic diamond thread. This would not compete with the gem industry and might fill a niche in applications where other high-tech threads are unsuitable.

  51. William Abbott, a Google search will quickly show you who Tommy Gold was and his academic qualifications.

    Kev-in UK – PT Phase diagrams are routinely used in petrological studies – these phase diagrams are derived from lab experiments and in terms of Pressure and Temperature we have calculated the diamond stability curve for example. What we don’t is data when an electric field is added into the equation. Bear in mind all physical and chemical experiments are conducted in the earth’s ambient electric field, and it’s the magnitude of this field, and its variation, that have not been quantified, so we don’t really know how it affects experimental results, among other things.

    As you might guess, science is never settled.

    I’m not posting for a while as I will be in the field directing a drilling machine in mineral exploration for a week or so.

  52. LarryD says:

    I’d like to point out that the current biotic theory of petrochemical formation starts with microorganisms in warm, shallow seas. Basically, plankton, not dinosaurs. The first implication is that this has been going on for billions of years, so there is a lot more oil than the “dinosaur hypotheses” would suggest. And it’s more widely distributed.

    Point two. Biotic and abiotic origins are not mutually exclusive. Both could be true.

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