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Methane-derived hydrocarbons produced under upper-mantle conditions
Carnegie Inst Washington, Geophys Lab.
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Heat and Power Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8199-5625
2009 (English)In: Nature geosicence, ISSN 1752-0894, Vol. 2, no 8, 566-570 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is widespread evidence that petroleum originates from biological processes(1-3). Whether hydrocarbons can also be produced from abiogenic precursor molecules under the high-pressure, high-temperature conditions characteristic of the upper mantle remains an open question. It has been proposed that hydrocarbons generated in the upper mantle could be transported through deep faults to shallower regions in the Earth's crust, and contribute to petroleum reserves(4,5). Here we use in situ Raman spectroscopy in laser-heated diamond anvil cells to monitor the chemical reactivity of methane and ethane under upper-mantle conditions. We show that when methane is exposed to pressures higher than 2 GPa, and to temperatures in the range of 1,000-1,500 K, it partially reacts to form saturated hydrocarbons containing 2-4 carbons (ethane, propane and butane) and molecular hydrogen and graphite. Conversely, exposure of ethane to similar conditions results in the production of methane, suggesting that the synthesis of saturated hydrocarbons is reversible. Our results support the suggestion that hydrocarbons heavier than methane can be produced by abiogenic processes in the upper mantle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 2, no 8, 566-570 p.
Keyword [en]
HIGH-PRESSURES, HIGH-TEMPERATURES, DIAMOND FORMATION, OXYGEN FUGACITY, ICE LAYER, DISSOCIATION, REDUCTION, PETROLEUM, GENESIS, ORIGIN
National Category
Geophysical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27012DOI: 10.1038/NGEO591ISI: 000270061800016Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-68749103473OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-27012DiVA: diva2:374367
Note
QC 20101203Available from: 2010-12-03 Created: 2010-12-03 Last updated: 2010-12-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Experimental investigation of hydrocarbon formation and transformation under Earth´s upper mantle conditions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experimental investigation of hydrocarbon formation and transformation under Earth´s upper mantle conditions
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The theory of the abyssal abiotic petroleum origin considers oil and natural gas to begenerated in the Earth’s upper mantle. Hydrocarbons migrate further through the deep faults into the Earth’s crust, where they can form oil and gas deposits in any kind of rock in any kind of structural position. Until recently one of the main obstacles for further development of this theory has been the lack of the data covering processes of generation and transformations of hydrocarbons.

Experimental data, presented in this thesis, confirms the possibility of hydrocarbons formation from mantle inorganic compounds (water, Fe, CaCO3 or graphite) at temperature and pressure of the upper mantle (1500 K and 5 GPa). Experiments were carried out in CONAC high pressure device and multianvil apparatus BARS. Compositions of received gas mixtures were similar to natural gas. Quantity of hydrocarbons depended on the cooling regime of reaction mixture under pressure. Slow cooling favored higher quantity. We found that donor of carbon (CaCO3 or graphite) determines formation of “dry” (methane-rich) gas or “wet” (light hydrocarbons-rich) gas.

Experiments in laser-heated diamond anvil cells showed that methane and ethane partially react under upper mantle thermobaric conditions (2-5 GPa, 1000-1500 K) to form mixture of hydrocarbons: methane, ethane, propane and n-butane – main compounds of natural gas. Similarity of final product mixture obtained from methane and ethane means thermodynamic stability of hydrocarbons in the thermobaric conditions of the upper mantle and equilibrium character of the observed processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2010. iii, 65 p.
Keyword
theory of deep abiotic petroleum origin, natural gas, hydrocarbons, methane, ethane, graphite, hydrogen, high pressure, high temperature, CONAC, BARS, diamond anvil cell, Raman, X-ray, gas chromatography
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-27017 (URN)
Public defence
2010-12-10, Sal F2, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101203Available from: 2010-12-03 Created: 2010-12-03 Last updated: 2010-12-03Bibliographically approved

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Kutcherov, Vladimir G.

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