We propose to develop and apply a novel advanced measuring technique and to conduct corresponding experiments (measurements) that would allow establishing and demonstrating, rigorously and unambiguously, the possibility of abiotic synthesis of complex hydrocarbon systems in the upper mantle of the Earth; determination of thermodynamic conditions of the synthesis and migration conditions of the deep hydrocarbons from a depth to the surface of the Earth; investigating mechanisms of reactions of hydrocarbon synthesis at very high pressure.
These measurements of intrinsically multidimensional phenomena need proper interpretation of measurement results, allowing concluding on conditions of abiotic synthesis of different hydrocarbon compounds in the Earth mantle basing on analysis of the final reaction products. Further development of modern theory of abiotic genesis of hydrocarbons is therefore a necessary component of the proposed research. The proposed programme involves front line multidisciplinary research in the overlapping area of modern thermodynamics, physical chemistry, spectroscopy, and geology.
Following preliminary theoretical calculations and experimental data establishing that these conditions occur at depths of 100-200km in the Earth and correspond to its upper mantle, we will undertake experimental measurements to demonstrate the instability of the hydrogen-carbon system at high pressures and temperatures, as it transforms from pure methane into a distribution of methane, ethane, propane, and the heavier hydrocarbon compounds. These experiments will be done also with natural substances, such as carbon, carbon dioxide, iron oxides, water, etc. which are existing in the upper mantle of the Earth. The samples will be compressed by steps to 70kbar and heated such that the temperature at each pressure corresponds to that of the Earth's geothermal gradient.
The planned experiments based on the proposed measuring technique will contribute to fundamental research by placing the geological conception of the abiotic deep genesis of hydrocarbons in the mainstream of modern thermodynamics, experimental physics and physical chemistry. The expected result is a proof of the fact that natural petroleum is a primordial material of deep origin which has been erupted into the crust of the Earth. This would have an immediate practical application through development of corresponding new approach to exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits, re-examination of the structure, size and location of the world's hydrocarbons reserves.
Troitsk, Moscow Region