7 September 2010 Review on the origin of oil and hydrocarbon gases within our solar system: biogenic or abiogenic?
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The petroleum hydrocarbons (oil like components and gas) and kerogen macromolecule are abundant within the extraterrestrial atmospheric particles, as reservoir of lakes and oceans or in hydrate forms, and within various carbonaceous chondrites (from asteroid belts, comets, and planets/moons), and as solid residue within the planets or moons within and outside our Solar System. Some of the important occurrences of petroleum hydrocarbons are: (a) the cup-like craters and large lakes, in the atmosphere within two moons of Saturn (Hyperion and Titan), and possibly also in Saturn's rings; (b) solid organic complexes with aromatic and aliphatic units within Iapetus and many bodies in the outer Solar System; (c) abundance of water, methane, gas hydrates within Mars; (d) remnant of nannofossils, kerogen-like geopolymers, and oil-like components within most of the CM, C1, and C2 carbonaceous chondrites. These discoveries clearly rekindled the very old debate over the biogenic or abiogenic origin on the genesis of these hydrocarbons. Several theories are prevalent for the abiogenic origin of petroleum: formation of gas by mantle decompression and thermal tsunami; various deep polymerization processes in the upper mantle gases through inorganic processes; gases evolved from a hot deep biosphere in the mantle, migration through deep-seated faults, and eventual polymerization of gases to heavier hydrocarbons. Most prevalent ideas of the origin of petroleum pool within various stratigraphic intervals in the terrestrial environment are overwhelmingly connected to the thermal degradation of macromolecular kerogen of biological entities. The current publication illustrated both these views on the genesis of petroleum hydrocarbons within carbonaceous chondrites that could be derived from other planets or moons within our Solar System and the asteroid belts and beyond.
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Prasanta K. Mukhopadhyay, David J. Mossman, James M. Ehrman, "Review on the origin of oil and hydrocarbon gases within our solar system: biogenic or abiogenic?", Proc. SPIE 7819, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIII, 781905 (7 September 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.862104; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.862104


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