Jul 23 2008 12:06am

Our Oil Crisis: Solved!

Did a massive underwater volcanic explosion create the oil we're now sucking out of the crust of the planet at ruinous rates? Possibly: Researchers at the University of Alberta hypothesize that such an explosion 93 million years ago first created a massive bloom of life as the volcano belched nutrients into the water, and then, as this smorgasbord depleted, the massive ensuing die-off depleted the oxygen in the ocean, allowing the dead organic matter to settle rather than decompose normally, as it would in an oxygen-rich environment. And then there it was: the black sludge that is the tweaky crank goodness our civilization runs on.

The good news here is now we know how to replenish our oil reserves: crack the skin of the planet, let an entire food chain of creatures feast on the minerals and then catastrophically die off, and then just wait several million years. It's just that easy!

[Oil well image by FLcelloguy, licensed under the Gnu Free Documentation License, Version 1.2; details on Wikipedia.]


Bruce Cohen
1. SpeakerToManagers
Hmm, maybe we've already started the process. There's an uncomfortably* large dead zone in the Pacific Ocean off the US Pacific Northwest coast that's somehow been deprived of almost all of its dissolved oxygen. Nothing except some anaerobic bacteria and such oxygen-disliking organisms can live there. And it seems to be growing.

* Well, I'm uncomfortable with it. YMMV.
Eric Chapman
2. IdleThreat
That's the first I've heard of a dead zone in the Pacific. There's also one in the Gulf of Mexico, and it's growing. Fishermen first noticed it when they looked down and saw sharks and fish alike, swimming away from it, practically hand in hand. Er, fin in fin. The predator/prey relationship was absent, replaced with an alliance, forged for the sake of expedient, desperate retreat.

Last working theory I've seen was that it's being caused by chemical runoff from agriculture.

Other weirdness in the Gulf attributed to the same source:

Unnaturally frequent red tide. Red tide is/was a natural occurrence, but in the Gulf it used to be something like once every few years. It was a rare thing. Now we get it several times every summer.

Imagine Florida in the summer. Beach weather every day, right? Except when you arrive and find the coastline covered in thousands of dead and dying fish. The air stings your eyes.

There was also the black water phenomenon, which I hadn't seen a scientific explanation for till I found that link. Apparently red tide related. When it was first reported, there were witness accounts saying it was causing fish to slough off their skin.
Debbie Moorhouse
3. GUDsqrl
Yes, but what am I going to use to power my cold sleep capsule while I wait?

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