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How Fossil Fuels Heat Earth's Core

Old 05-20-17, 03:11 PM
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How Fossil Fuels Heat Earth's Core

I found this video on youtube showing how plate subduction drags material from the crust deeper as it mixed with cooled magma and sinks down into hotter, lighter magma deeper underground. I don't know how much of the core heat could be the result of subducted fossilized surface biomass, but these geological processes go very slow so many generations of forest layers can be buried in the area of a subduction zone, allowing lots of energy to build up and condense as coal/oil before getting dragged down.

Since Pangea is drifting apart from the Atlantic, that explains the relative absence of volcanic activity, which is more abundant along the Pacific Rim, where subduction is presumably occurring, resulting in some magma rising up as depicted in the video. I am still wondering about the distant future of subducting plates. E.g. will California gradually get pulled down under Hawaii, along with the rest of North America, eventually? If so, what will happen if all or most of the coal is absent from the subducted flow of cooled magma as it sinks down toward the core? Will the core cool enough that rising flows of hot magma will weaken and formation of new mountain ranges will suffer as a result. I think this is indeed possible, as well as weakening of the magnetic field protecting the planet from harmful radiation and cosmic rays.


Edit: after watching more videos on plate tectonics, it seems that the Pacific Rim is considered a spreading subduction zone, so in that case North America wouldn't get pulled down gradually under that plate, but now I am confused at why the continents would stop drifting apart from the Pangea state. Maybe the continents have to first sink underwater before they can be pulled into subduction zones, though I'm not sure why they would do this. Somehow I have a hard time believing that the science of plate tectonics is very accurate when it comes to predicting which areas will spread apart through time and which will drift together in the future. Still, I think it's clear that fossilized energy gradually gets pulled into the subduction zones where it sinks down and creates pressure to push new land up.

This must be the mechanism whereby stored solar energy gets converted into stored gravitational potential energy, i.e. in the form of mountains. Then, the amazing thing is that not only do the mountains prevent the energy from being released as heat into the atmosphere, they also cause the Earth to have altitude variations and ocean-depth variations that help cool the planet and thereby precipitate water vapor out of the atmosphere. If that solar energy would all be converted into heat and wind, instead of getting stored up and used to build mountains, the weathering and erosion would gradually wash all the land into the oceans.

Last edited by tandempower; 05-20-17 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 05-21-17, 10:35 AM
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Really? No one has any thoughts on the role fossil fuel energy plays in plate tectonics? The video clearly explains and shows how energy is dragged under the crust, but there are a lot of possibilities for what happens to it there. Some causes volcanoes and underwater gas jets, but some might also be reaching the core and fueling it, or some might be heating the mantle so it stays fluid.

A big question I get from watching this video is how the core can heat up so much rising magma if it is contains finite energy. I suppose there is a lot of radioactive material there, so that is sort of like having a constant fire heating the core, but wouldn't you expect the reaction to die out more after so many eons? I can't but wonder whether solar neutrinos aren't adding new energy to the core, as well as surface energy dragged underground by subduction. Neutrinos barely interact with matter in the various neutrino observatories that have been built, but I think it could be possible that they interact more deeper inside the planet where there is more heat and thus particle motion, since faster-moving particles would seem to be more likely to collide with neutrinos than cold, slow moving particles in the crust.
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Old 05-21-17, 11:41 AM
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Old 05-21-17, 12:05 PM
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I don't have any thoughts because on a scale of 1 to 10 my knowledge on this is maybe a 2.
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Old 05-21-17, 12:11 PM
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It's a real shame robbie the robot can't face palm.
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Old 05-21-17, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by icedmocha View Post

I don't have any thoughts because on a scale of 1 to 10 my knowledge on this is maybe a 2.
He keeps reminding me of Alice falling down the well into Wonderland. That bit is a critique of traditional British education, which was heavy on memorisation, and amazingly weak on analytical thinking. She had a lot of facts at her disposal, but no way to use them to deal with a novel situation.

One example from his post, how would hydrocarbons burn without oxygen? There are lots and lots of books for layman, and if his library doesn't have one, they can still usually get it for you. It's juvenile nonsense.
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Old 05-21-17, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
One example from his post, how would hydrocarbons burn without oxygen? There are lots and lots of books for layman, and if his library doesn't have one, they can still usually get it for you. It's juvenile nonsense.
Pyrolysis is how hydrocarbons burn without oxygen. The easy way to think broadly about energy is that it can't be created or destroyed, so it gets stored in various forms and then transformed/transferred into other forms. So the interesting thing is to try to figure out what's happening with energy and how it's changing forms and moving around.

We know that coal and oil are forming underground due to surface biomass getting buried and maybe also dragged further underground by plate motion. We also know that some of the energy is coming back up in the form of volcanoes and jets.

We also know, however, that it takes energy to lift things against the force of gravity, so when mountain ranges form, that movement of rock to higher altitude involves energy. The question is how enough energy ends up deep enough to push mountain ranges like the Himalayas up so high without the energy short-circuiting and leaking to the surface as a volcano or underwater jet/geyser, etc.

My interest in nuclear chemistry involving neutrinos leads me to wonder whether the energy being dragged underground may not also assist in a process of neutrino-capture where energy from the sun in the form of neutrinos could be contributing to core heat. At present, as far as I know, the assumption about the core is that all its heat is mostly derived from radioactive energy that's been there since the planet was a ball of hot magma. There are some questions about how the Earth could be as old as it seems to be without the core having cooled more than it has, but no theories about what kinds of sources of energy could be continuously fueling it.

I think we should consider the possibility that all possible sources of energy are contributing to core heat, plate tectonics, and the magnetic field. We know the neutrinos are there, that biomass is getting buried underground and dragged into subduction zones gradually. We also know there are volcanoes and undersea jets and Earthquakes releasing at least some of the energy. There is a lot of geology devoted to these topics, but not a lot of explanation of how they know their models are correct, or what competing explanations there are and/or how those have been disproven.

I find it interesting to think about and discuss these topics in non-scientific forums because people in the science forums can be oppressive when it comes to thinking freely and discussing those thoughts. Many people in science want to turn off everyone's mind and make us all just worship what they've managed to get published. I find that an ironic subversion of the whole purpose of science in the first place, which is to critically think about how things work and not just accept what authorities tell you to accept.
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Old 05-21-17, 02:01 PM
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The edges of all the landmass seem to fit pretty neatly together if you shrink the volume of the Earth by half, so maybe it's just been growing.
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Old 05-21-17, 02:07 PM
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Think of all that oil begin wasted! We need to quickly come up with a way to reverse the tectonics and get our oil back before it ALL get burned up inside the Earth. Maybe dropping several hundred nukes on mountain ranges will push them back down and out.
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Old 05-22-17, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by wernmax View Post

The edges of all the landmass seem to fit pretty neatly together if you shrink the volume of the Earth by half, so maybe it's just been growing.
What I've read is that there was a super-continent that broke up, which is why it looks like a jigsaw puzzle.
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Old 05-22-17, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post


I find it interesting to think about and discuss these topics in non-scientific forums because people in the science forums can be oppressive when it comes to thinking freely and discussing those thoughts
You mean they work their ass off for years, and then don't want to listen to you speculate?

Imagine that..
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Old 05-22-17, 07:39 AM
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So, we are sucking the tit of mother earth, like a baby drinking breast milk. I wonder when she is gonna start weening us? Or, will it be cold turkey?
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Old 05-22-17, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Pyrolysis is how hydrocarbons burn without oxygen. The easy way to think broadly about energy is that it can't be created or destroyed, so it gets stored in various forms and then transformed/transferred into other forms. So the interesting thing is to try to figure out what's happening with energy and how it's changing forms and moving around.

We know that coal and oil are forming underground due to surface biomass getting buried and maybe also dragged further underground by plate motion. We also know that some of the energy is coming back up in the form of volcanoes and jets.

We also know, however, that it takes energy to lift things against the force of gravity, so when mountain ranges form, that movement of rock to higher altitude involves energy. The question is how enough energy ends up deep enough to push mountain ranges like the Himalayas up so high without the energy short-circuiting and leaking to the surface as a volcano or underwater jet/geyser, etc.

My interest in nuclear chemistry involving neutrinos leads me to wonder whether the energy being dragged underground may not also assist in a process of neutrino-capture where energy from the sun in the form of neutrinos could be contributing to core heat. At present, as far as I know, the assumption about the core is that all its heat is mostly derived from radioactive energy that's been there since the planet was a ball of hot magma. There are some questions about how the Earth could be as old as it seems to be without the core having cooled more than it has, but no theories about what kinds of sources of energy could be continuously fueling it.

I think we should consider the possibility that all possible sources of energy are contributing to core heat, plate tectonics, and the magnetic field. We know the neutrinos are there, that biomass is getting buried underground and dragged into subduction zones gradually. We also know there are volcanoes and undersea jets and Earthquakes releasing at least some of the energy. There is a lot of geology devoted to these topics, but not a lot of explanation of how they know their models are correct, or what competing explanations there are and/or how those have been disproven.

I find it interesting to think about and discuss these topics in non-scientific forums because people in the science forums can be oppressive when it comes to thinking freely and discussing those thoughts. Many people in science want to turn off everyone's mind and make us all just worship what they've managed to get published. I find that an ironic subversion of the whole purpose of science in the first place, which is to critically think about how things work and not just accept what authorities tell you to accept.
It (energy) does get stored, but sometimes it gets stored in ways that we can't really use it. There are also many forms of "inert" energy that we don't often think about that tend to add up.
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Old 05-22-17, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by wernmax View Post
The edges of all the landmass seem to fit pretty neatly together if you shrink the volume of the Earth by half, so maybe it's just been growing.
\

I think it expands and contracts, but over the long term it's pretty constant. Like a beating heart. Everything that is alive has a "pulse."
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Old 05-22-17, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I found this video on youtube showing how plate subduction drags material from the crust deeper as it mixed with cooled magma and sinks down into hotter, lighter magma deeper underground. I don't know how much of the core heat could be the result of subducted fossilized surface biomass, but these geological processes go very slow so many generations of forest layers can be buried in the area of a subduction zone, allowing lots of energy to build up and condense as coal/oil before getting dragged down.

Since Pangea is drifting apart from the Atlantic, that explains the relative absence of volcanic activity, which is more abundant along the Pacific Rim, where subduction is presumably occurring, resulting in some magma rising up as depicted in the video. I am still wondering about the distant future of subducting plates. E.g. will California gradually get pulled down under Hawaii, along with the rest of North America, eventually? If so, what will happen if all or most of the coal is absent from the subducted flow of cooled magma as it sinks down toward the core? Will the core cool enough that rising flows of hot magma will weaken and formation of new mountain ranges will suffer as a result. I think this is indeed possible, as well as weakening of the magnetic field protecting the planet from harmful radiation and cosmic rays.

https://youtu.be/ryrXAGY1dmE

Edit: after watching more videos on plate tectonics, it seems that the Pacific Rim is considered a spreading subduction zone, so in that case North America wouldn't get pulled down gradually under that plate, but now I am confused at why the continents would stop drifting apart from the Pangea state. Maybe the continents have to first sink underwater before they can be pulled into subduction zones, though I'm not sure why they would do this. Somehow I have a hard time believing that the science of plate tectonics is very accurate when it comes to predicting which areas will spread apart through time and which will drift together in the future. Still, I think it's clear that fossilized energy gradually gets pulled into the subduction zones where it sinks down and creates pressure to push new land up.

This must be the mechanism whereby stored solar energy gets converted into stored gravitational potential energy, i.e. in the form of mountains. Then, the amazing thing is that not only do the mountains prevent the energy from being released as heat into the atmosphere, they also cause the Earth to have altitude variations and ocean-depth variations that help cool the planet and thereby precipitate water vapor out of the atmosphere. If that solar energy would all be converted into heat and wind, instead of getting stored up and used to build mountains, the weathering and erosion would gradually wash all the land into the oceans.


I am reasonably certain that this is incorrect.
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Old 05-22-17, 09:09 AM
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Old 05-22-17, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Really? No one has any thoughts on the role fossil fuel energy plays in plate tectonics?
Thoughts: "Oh, look, another thread where tandempower speculates wildly and wrongly, maybe he'll try to redefine some words too." What you described isn't even remotely how the world works.
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Old 05-22-17, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Pyrolysis is how hydrocarbons burn without oxygen.
Pyrolysis is a thermochemical decomposition of organic material at elevated temperatures in the absence of oxygen (or any halogen).
It's usually also endothermic, producing no heat, and requiring heat to catalyze chemical decomposition. Charcoal is a great example or pyrolysis -- it is produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen.

So, no, fossil fuels do not heat the earth's core. However, heat from the core is responsible for the pyrolytic creation of oil, coal, shale, etc. from organic compounds which have been subducted from the surface.

Because heat is used to create fossil fuels, if anthing, they contribute to cooling the earth.

Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
At present, as far as I know, the assumption about the core is that all its heat is mostly derived from radioactive energy that's been there since the planet was a ball of hot magma. There are some questions about how the Earth could be as old as it seems to be without the core having cooled more than it has, but no theories about what kinds of sources of energy could be continuously fueling it.
There are three main sources of heat in the deep earth: (1) heat from when the planet formed and accreted, which has not yet been lost; (2) frictional heating, caused by denser core material sinking to the center of the planet; and (3) heat from the decay of radioactive elements.
Note: not fossil fuels.

Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
We know the neutrinos are there, that biomass is getting buried underground and dragged into subduction zones gradually. We also know there are volcanoes and undersea jets and Earthquakes releasing at least some of the energy. There is a lot of geology devoted to these topics, but not a lot of explanation of how they know their models are correct, or what competing explanations there are and/or how those have been disproven.
Neutrinos are generally thought to pass through the planet, not interact with matter at the core. You'll need to post examples of which geologic models you take issue with, and why.

Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I find it interesting to think about and discuss these topics in non-scientific forums because people in the science forums can be oppressive when it comes to thinking freely and discussing those thoughts. Many people in science want to turn off everyone's mind and make us all just worship what they've managed to get published. I find that an ironic subversion of the whole purpose of science in the first place, which is to critically think about how things work and not just accept what authorities tell you to accept.
You prefer your own fiction to their fact. Fair enough...
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Old 05-22-17, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
It's usually also endothermic, producing no heat, and requiring heat to catalyze chemical decomposition. Charcoal is a great example or pyrolysis -- it is produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen.

So, no, fossil fuels do not heat the earth's core. However, heat from the core is responsible for the pyrolytic creation of oil, coal, shale, etc. from organic compounds which have been subducted from the surface.

Because heat is used to create fossil fuels, if anthing, they contribute to cooling the earth.


Note: not fossil fuels.

Neutrinos are generally thought to pass through the planet, not interact with matter at the core. You'll need to post examples of which geologic models you take issue with, and why.
You are too kind to do the legwork that others should be doing.
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Old 05-22-17, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by trsidn View Post
I am reasonably certain that this is incorrect.
It's backwards, the pacific plate is going underneath the north american plate, that is what subduction is.
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Old 05-22-17, 10:35 AM
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the whole carboniferous era was all happening in the crust, none deeper than the upper mantle.

the repeated breakage of the trans atlantic cable was crucial to the discovery of the mid atlantic ridge..
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Old 05-22-17, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
the whole carboniferous era was all happening in the crust, none deeper than the upper mantle.

the repeated breakage of the trans atlantic cable was crucial to the discovery of the mid atlantic ridge..
FWIW, the weekend before last, I was in Iceland and napped a bit in the car, in one of their national parks, right on the mid-Atlantic ridge. We also went for a dip in a couple of geothermal hot pools, which was good fun and totally relaxing.
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Old 05-22-17, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
It's usually also endothermic, producing no heat, and requiring heat to catalyze chemical decomposition. Charcoal is a great example or pyrolysis -- it is produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen.

So, no, fossil fuels do not heat the earth's core. However, heat from the core is responsible for the pyrolytic creation of oil, coal, shale, etc. from organic compounds which have been subducted from the surface.

Because heat is used to create fossil fuels, if anthing, they contribute to cooling the earth.





Note: not fossil fuels.



Neutrinos are generally thought to pass through the planet, not interact with matter at the core. You'll need to post examples of which geologic models you take issue with, and why.



You prefer your own fiction to their fact. Fair enough...
That seems reasonable. Carbon, acts as a heat buffer. Removing carbon in the form of oil will undoubtedly create more friction, especially along fault lines...which are everywhere. But, it's interesting to think of carbon as a heat sink in terms people can understand. CO2 is a very complex, and possibly highly inaccurate, way to measure the effects of using up fossil fuels, but you can tax it very easily.

So, it seems that TP may be on to something...?
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Old 05-22-17, 11:39 AM
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Land plants started 450M years ago. It should be relatively easy to estimate how much volume of dead plant material has been 'sucked under' and also how far under it has gotten since then. (not much)

Then estimate the magnitude of energy it contains. Then compare to the magnitude contained/generated by the three known sources.

I suspect if this is done that if any energy come from hydrocarbons it is so insignificant as to be effectively zero.
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Old 05-22-17, 11:44 AM
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When was the earth's core hottest? While it formed, long before there were plants, and it's been cooling ever since.

Or, maybe, the earth's core is hot because Christians dig large holes and bring flame throwers into these caves. Reality is boring.
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