Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Dynamic View of Continental Movements, and the Birth and Death of Oceans and Seas


500 Million Years of Continental Rearrangement

Oil and gas are generally formed under seabeds, when organic matter is covered with sediment, deprived of oxygen, and exposed to heat and pressure over long time periods. The video above presents one scientific theory of how continents move about, forming new seas and destroying others.

Confined seas that are fed a rich diet of sediments and nutrients are the best oil formers -- in other words, those that are fed by large, seasonably variable rivers. Of course, rivers will necessarily be birthed, change their courses, and die over geologic timespans -- just like seas.

That is why mental prospectors of ancient oil-forming seabeds must visualise the movement of the continents, the mountains, the rivers, the seas, over time.
Supercontinent Formation
In a paper published Feb. 9 in the journal Nature, Yale researchers introduce a process called orthoversion, in which each succeeding supercontinent forms 90 degrees from the geographic center of its ancient predecessor. Under the theory, the present-day Arctic Ocean and Caribbean Sea will vanish as North and South America fuse during a mutual northward migration that leads to a collision with Europe and Asia.

“After those water bodies close, we’re on our way to the next supercontinent,” said Ross N. Mitchell, the Yale doctoral student who is the paper’s first author. “You’d have the Americas meeting Eurasia practically at the North Pole.” _Physorg
Oil & gas are renewable resources -- but on a long timescale. Humans have barely begun to discover all the hydrocarbon resources which they will ultimately be able to economically exploit.

Plan ahead so as to ride out the waves and chop that are certain to come along the way.

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