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Proceedings Paper

Genesis of oil and hydrocarbon gases within Mars and carbonaceous chondrites from our solar system: organic origin (source rocks or direct biogenic sink?)
Author(s): Prasanta K. Mukhopadhyay
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Paper Abstract

The petroleum hydrocarbons (oil and gas) and kerogen macromolecules are abundant within the extraterrestrial atmospheric particles. These hydrocarbons occur as reservoir of lakes and oceans or in hydrate forms on various planets (Earth, Mars, moons of Saturn and Jupiter), asteroid belts, carbonaceous chondrites, and as solid residue within the planets or moons in the Solar System and beyond. The abundance of PAHs in the outer Solar System may indicate that the genesis of these primitive biomarker hydrocarbons may have formed abiogenically much earlier (> 5Ga) than the formation of our Solar System (~ 5 Ga). However, the origin of petroleum on Earth is overwhelmingly connected to the biogenic organic matter that is related to source rocks (thermal degradation of macromolecular kerogen). This may show a similar genesis of the kerogen macromolecules and petroleum hydrocarbons (oil and gas) within the carbonaceous chondrites (CCs), Mars, and selected moons from Saturn and Jupiter. They may be biologically and genetically related. Recent evidence of the possible presence of source rocks (organic rich black carbonaceous rocks) and associated petroleum system elements within Eberswalde and Holden areas of Mars may indicate similar terrestrial associations. Similarly, studies of Carbonaceous Chondrites using biological, petrological, SEM/EDS, and petroleum geochemical methods may also indicate the presence of source rock macromolecule within the CCs. These studies pointed out two new issues: (1) approximately, the major part of the CCs possibly originated from archaea, bacteria, and primitive algal remains; and (2) three types of temperature events affecting the petroleum generation within these carbonaceous chondrites: (i) lower temperature events (<200oC) in comets and cooler asteroids or planets (examples: Murchison, Tagish Lake, Orgueil); (ii) intermediate temperature events (200 - 300oC) as associated within the deeper section of the comets, asteroids or planets (examples: ALH 840001, and NWA); (iii) high temperature induced zones (>400-500oC) within asteroids or planets or moons (examples: Allende, Vigarano, EET) where organic matter is closely associated with the volcanic or intrusives. The processes of forming oil and gas within Mars and the Moons of other Planets may be connected to both low and high temperature events of kerogen transformation. As such, (a) in the low temperature events, hydrocarbons may be genetically related to petroleum system elements (source, reservoir, seal, and carrier bed systems; (b) in the high temperature events, bitumens and PAHs were derived from the organic remnants (e.g bacterial clusters) which may be connected to volcanic sources possibly associated with a bacterial mat.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2011
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 8152, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIV, 815211 (23 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893836
Show Author Affiliations
Prasanta K. Mukhopadhyay, Global Geoenergy Research Ltd. (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8152:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XIV
Richard B. Hoover; Paul C. W. Davies; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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