Lakes of oil on Saturn’s Moon Titan

Lakes of oil on Saturn’s Moon Titan

“It’s enough to make a Texas oil man drool.”

Four views of Saturn's moon, Titan - JPL/NASA/Univ. of Arizona/CNRS/LPGNantes

“Saturn’s moon Titan has rain, lakes, and weather that shapes the moon’s surface as those same processes shape Earth’s,” says this article in the National Journal. “The main differences are that Titan is much, much colder and, instead of water, the rain and lakes are made of liquid methane and other hydrocarbons.” (Italics added)

“A new, animated mosaic from the University of Nantes in France shows nearly the full surface of the moon, including lakes and vast dune fields, for the first time in color.”


What does that mean, “other hydrocarbons“?

Here’s how I explain it in Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps (p. 134):

“I know a world midway in size between the Moon and Mars,” said Carl Sagan, “where the upper air is crackling with electricity; where the perpetual brown overcast is tinged an odd burnt orange; and where the stuff of life falls out of the skies like manna from heaven onto the unknown surface below.”

And what is that “stuff of life” that Sagan is talking about? That “manna from heaven”?

Hydrocarbons and nitriles constantly fall from Titan’s skies, said Sagan. Titan – the big moon of Saturn – is socked in as a haze of organic solids formed high in its skies slowly fall and accumu­late on its surface. Oceans of water are impossible on Titan (it’s too cold), but “vast oceans of liquid hydrocarbons are expect­ed.”

Created, in other words.

“It’s enough to make a Texas oil man drool,” exclaimed an article in the Seattle Times (21 Mar 1995). New images from the Hubble space telescope show that Titan may have lakes of oil as big as all five Great Lakes put together.

Rivers of Oil

It may be oil, or it may be methane.

Photographs taken by the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe, which landed on Saturn’s largest moon on January 14, 2005, show images of streams, springs and deltas that look eerily similar to river networks on earth, except that these networks were carved into the landscape by rivers of oil or liquid methane. Other images from the Cassini mission show hydrocarbon lakes, replete with shorelines, bays and channels. One lake, as big as North America’s Lake Ontario, has been dubbed Ontario Lacus.

We estimate that Titan “contains more hydrocarbon liquid than the entire known oil and gas reserves on Earth,” says Ralph Lorenz of Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

“Titan sports a complete hydrological cycle, one where it rains methane,” said an article in Sky and Telescope. (April 2005) The methane “evaporates, condenses, forms clouds, and rains back down onto Titan.” Other hydro-carbon byproducts form a photo-chemical smog in Titan’s atmosphere.*

Same on Jupiter.

Our experiments in ionizing a reduced atmo­sphere show that “it rains crude oil on Jupiter,” said Willard Libby, in his 1969 talk “Space Science” (the same Libby who discovered radiocarbon dating).

Uranus and Neptune also have large admixtures of car-bon in their atmospheres, said the late Thomas Gold in his 2001 book The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of fossil fuels. “It is now generally agreed that there is a profuse supply of hydrocarbons on many other bodies of the solar system, where no origin from surface biology can be suggested,” said Gold. “Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe and also in our solar system. I am sure,” Gold added, “that there were no big stagnant swamps on Titan.”

Why not here?

It seems such a simple question.

Why not here?

If carbon can form in Titan’s hazy skies, if crude oil can rain out of Jupiter’s skies, then why not here?

See other photos from Cassini and its Titan probe during its seven years of orbiting Saturn:

* Bitumen raining from the sky

Suddenly, the old Mexican myths about bitumen raining from the sky (The Manuscript Quiché, Brasseur, Histoire des nations civilisées du Mexique, I., 55), or the old Syrian tales about oil raining from the sky (Ras-Shamra [Ugarit], C. H. Gord­on, The Loves and Wars of Baal and Anat, 1943), don’t seem quite so mythical.

Nor do the Midrashim texts that speak of naphtha (petroleum) falling from the sky (Midrash Tanhu­ma, Midrash Psikta Raboti, and Midrash Wa-Yosha).

Immanuel Velikov­sky told of these myths in his book Worlds in Colli­sion, pp. 69-71 and 149.


21 thoughts on “Lakes of oil on Saturn’s Moon Titan

  1. I bet they can find plenty of dinosaur and tress and plants to create these oil! NOT; of course the oil is abiotic, from the deep of earth…

  2. Wh-what? You mean that OIL (petroleum) does NOT come from dead dinosaurs, that it occurs NATURALLY under the right conditions and precursor material? Kinda rubs against propaganda we were all taught in elementary school, doesn’t it? Did the earth have an “oil ocean” phase before cooling enough to allow the crust layer to establish itself and form land masses? Kinda rips a lot of theories wide open to question, that we’ve all been taught for years, doesn’t it?

  3. Why do these space come planetary geoscientists state the obvious all the time. “more hydrocarbons than gas fields on earth” well of course DUMBO Earth isnt all Methane! Well theres Jupiter…hmm yes lets see more methane than little Titan!… saying theres more Helium in the Sun than the Earth too!

  4. So what you are saying is that for long range space missions you don’t need to make hydrogen and oxygen by some complicated machine, you just go to the moon and filler up, then go back home????
    Seems simple enough to me..

  5. Re-reading this I can see that some won’t understand what I was talking about so basically Titian (imho) is a natural fuel station for the long trips around the solar system..

  6. Extracting petroleum, and bitumen from the Earth is relieving the pressure caused by the constant production of these wonderful products. Crude used to seep to the surface (maybe it still does) and befoul the environment causing much angst amongst the greenies of the day. The green zealots of today aren’t clever enough to realize that the production, and use of petroleum products is very environmentally friendly.

    • That’s because the “greenies” still believe the lies (however unintentional) that they were taught in the 3rd grade that 1) oil/petroleum comes from dead dinosaurs, and 2) using it in motorized vehicles destroys the planet somehow, which they can produce NO evidence for, whatsoever– I’m sorry, but polar bears swimming around in oceans, and the like, doesn’t count as evidence that my SUV MAKES them do that.

  7. That’s absolutely correct! Oil and gas does not come for dead dinosaurs!
    It is created from quadrillions of quadrillions of dead micro organisms and plankton that lived and died in the oceans and accumulated in thick layers that were buried in the sediments. Over time these deposits of organic matter were cooked into oil and gas. At temperatures of approximately 120 degrees you get crude oil at 160 degrees or higher you get natural gas and methane. When these sediments are subducted you get carbon dioxide and water vapor and these are the constituants of volcanic gases. I would say that at best it is rather speculative to suggest that abiotic oil and gas are created by sub ducted sediments as 2000 degree or hotter magma would destroy complex hydrocarbons on contact.
    As an experiment you might try throwing an animal carcass into the Erta Alle lava pit and see what happens or a barrel of crude oil.

    • It seems quite possible that both theories are correct. It is unquestionable that oil can come from organic deposits, but…

      The empirical data developed by the Russians, Norwegians and Swedes is quite as sound to all appearances. Russian petroleum geologists work quite successfully employing a theoretical basis that is completely alien to western geology. But, it still works, at least as well as our preferred views.

      Like other aspects of natural science (like climate) we probably have only a very foggy understanding. One thing that stood out in theories that addressed the geology of petroleum when I was studying geology in the ’70s was that the theories of petroleum formation were rooted in geosynclinal theory. No account was being taken of plate tectonics. But, a study of the coincidence of oil fields and plate boundaries shows a strong relation between the two. There are fields that are not on plate boundaries, Pennsylvania and Texas come to mind, but California, Indonesia, the Arabian Gulph, and Persia are all examples of plate/oil field coincidence.

  8. If the trolls are coming from heaven or from underground, who knows.

    This essay is partly written of what I have learned from german writer F. William Engdahl.

    After WW2 Russia was not effluent with oil to run their economy. The Theory of Pangea of Alfred Wegener became the basis of a theory among geoligists, chemists and physiscians in Russia and Ukraine, that coal and hydrocarbons were created under the crust and they described it as abiotic oil.

    From Engdahls essay: Beginning in 1964, Soviet scientists carried out extensive theoretical statistical thermodynamic analysis which established explicitly that the hypothesis of evolution of hydrocarbon molecules (except methane) from biogenic ones in the temperature and pressure regime of the Earth’s near-surface crust was glaringly in violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

    F. William Engdahl is citing J.F. Kenney: Dr. J. F. Kenney is one of the only few Western geophysicists who has taught and worked in Russia, studying under Vladilen Krayushkin, who developed the huge Dnieper-Donets Basin. Kenney told me in a recent interview that “alone to have produced the amount of oil to date that (Saudi Arabia’s) Ghawar field has produced would have required a cube of fossilized dinosaur detritus, assuming 100% conversion efficiency, measuring 19 miles deep, wide and high.” In short, an absurdity.

    According to Engdahl, the russians and ukraines drillet in the Dnieper-Donet Basin 61 wells, 37 were proftable, a 60 % sucsess rate. In USA the rate is 10 %. There were drillings in the Caspian Sea through crystaline rock, below sediments, and they found oil. They used this theory to drill in Siberia and also found oil there. According to late Matt Simmons, the problem was the pressure, and they had to use mininukes to stop 3 blowouts. This could be done because the roch was crystaline and the rock could be glasified.

    There are a big differences of opinions between russian and western petroleum geoligists about the origin of oil. The russians claim that oil is created under the crust, the western geoligists claim that is created by ”rotten dinosaurs”. According to jr. colonel Leroy Fletcher Prouty, you can find the intervju at youtube, the western belief system was ”determined” by Rockefeller and american sciencetists in a convention in Geneva in 1892, that oil was fossile.

    So, is there any evidence of the russian theory in western wells? Yes, maybe, the mystery of Eugen Island 330. A well that was drilled in the Gulf of Mexico, produced 15.000 b/d early in the 70thies. In 1989 the production went down to 4.000 b/d. Then it happened, the rate increased to 13.000 b/d. The amazing knowledge that came to light, was that the last oil had another age than the first, and that it came from the deep through cracking in the underlying rock.

    What about Norway? Engdahl has in an another article said that the Pengea Theory of Alfred Wegener was the background for the adventure in the North Sea. The norwegian oilcompany, Statoil, drilled several dry wells outside the coast of Moere and Troendelag. But, they found vast layers of coal. In 2005, 4 students were hired to evaluate the data. What they found and calculateded, 3.000 billion tons of coal. Compare it to Ghawar, the SA field with 60 billion barrels. As I wrote to some of my friends, it must have been smelling like H for several million of years outside the coast.

  9. Those interested in this subject should look up “abiotic oil” on their favorite search engine. There is, in fact, a great deal of practical interest in the subject, particularly in Russia.

  10. We’ll never reach it. Our Golden Age has passed. People in the 22nd Century will be lucky if there is still a capability to get into LEO let alone travel beyond the lunar orbit.

  11. OIL FROM DEAD BODIES OF DINOSOURS (and other decaying organic matter)

    Moral of the story – Have not a very great majority of us been believing BLINDLY for several decades in some thing we have been taught? Something that is now considered an incorrect hypothesis?

    A couple of decades ago I remember a friend of mine (a commerce student, at that!) dismissing this theory (oil from dead bodies) as bull purely because it did not make sense to him. Why was he in the minority, even though he was not a science student?

    I take it as a strong indication that it is imperative to inculcate the habit of scientific skepticism and the scientific method at the school level. If not done by the institutions, should be done at a personal level from parent to child.

    The NEAR universal acceptance of “Man Made Global Warming” Theory a few years back is a great standing example of the total lack of Scientific Skepticism in our society currently. (There are several other examples of course. Keynesiansim, IMHO, is another one).

  12. Does this mean we don’t have to start WW3 in the Middle East, because oil is not scarce, because it is not made of plants and dinosaurs?

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