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Genesis of Petroleum within Our Solar System - Prospects of Oil & Gas for Future Mars Exploration

Mukhopadhyay, Prasanta K.1; Mossman, David J.2; Ehrman, James M.3
1 Global Geoenergy Research Limited, Halifax, NS, Canada.
2 Department of Geography, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada.
3 Biology and Digital Microscopy, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada.

Our analysis of selected carbonaceous chondrites (CC’s - Murchison, Allende, NWA 3003, Dhofar 735, Orgueil, Tagish Lake, ALH 84 and Vigarano) using organic petrology, scanning electron microscopy, and petroleum geochemistry demonstrates presence of abundant macromolecular biomarkers similar to kerogen and bitumen in terrestrial petroleum source rocks. Remarkable bacteriomorphic structures and other kerogenous microstructures preserved in CCs resemble remnants of terrestrial palynomorphs of microbial (prokaryotic and archaeoprokaryotic) ecosystems established on Earth over 3.5 Ga ago. Common within the macromolecules of CCs and in selected Precambrian terrestrial Type II and II-III source rocks (>2.1 Ga) are carbonaceous remnants bacterial clusters, fungal remains, amorphous kerogen, solid bitumen, and vitrinite-like macerals associated with framboidal pyrites. The macromolecules within Murchison, Orgueil and Tagish Lake contain abundant hydrocarbons including C10 - C20 normal alkanes, complex cyclo-and isoalkanes with both low and high molecular weight aromatic components. The thermal history of vitrinite or bitumen like organoclasts (Ro = 0.5 to 1.3%) of these three CCs eliminates the likelihood of temperature beyond 150oC and the CC’s remain with the “oil window”. In effect, the information encoded in CC constitutes a cosmic analogue to terrestrial geopolymers in organic-rich source rocks (kerogen Types II and II-III) and their liquid and/or solid hydrocarbons products.

Apart from the concept of panspermia, the data highlights a possible link between early life macromolecule, thermal decomposition and hydrocarbons in both CC’s and in terrestrial sediments. The organics within carbonaceous chondrites (CC), recent finding of oil and gas within various moons of Saturn and Jupiter, and recent news on water and the key geological features within Mars indicates presence of petroleum systems within our Solar System. Our model of a Universal Petroleum System promises prospects of oil and gas throughout our Solar System especially important for our next Mars Expedition.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009