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Scientists discover frozen methane gas deposit off California
ap on Bakersfield Californian ^ | 1/28/06 | Alicia Chang - ap

Posted on 01/28/2006 11:39:14 AM PST by NormsRevenge

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Scientists have discovered an undersea deposit of frozen methane just off the Southern California coast, but whether it can be harnessed as a potential energy source is unknown.

The size of the deposit is unknown but the researchers believe it to be substantial.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in tapping methane hydrates, ice-like crystals that form under seabeds and Arctic permafrost.

Scientists estimate that the methane trapped in previously known frozen reservoirs around the globe could power the world for centuries. But finding the technology to mine such deposits has proved elusive.

The newly discovered deposit is located at the summit of a mud volcano 15 miles off the Southern California coast. Scientists were plumbing the Pacific Ocean on an unrelated expedition when they accidentally came across the volcano, which sits on top of an active fault zone in the Santa Monica Basin.

To scientists' surprise, the ecosystem surrounding the methane hydrate site was unlike any of the vast hydrate deposits around the world.

Scientists found seashells and clams with unique characteristics, suggesting the area experiences an extreme flux of methane - gas mixing with water, said Jim Hein, a marine geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

Hein said it would probably be difficult to mine the hydrate deposit as an energy source because of its proximity to shipping lanes and to major cities including Los Angeles. The giant twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are nearby.

The discovery was detailed in February's issue of the journal Geology.

Methane hydrates, which resemble sugar crystals, form over hundreds of thousands of years when methane gas and water are at freezing temperatures and under intense pressure.

The hydrates contain methane, the primary component of clean-burning natural gas, in a highly concentrated form. By some estimates, they contain twice was much carbon energy than all other fossil fuels combined.

Although scientists say a new source of natural gas would provide a near-limitless energy source, some worry about the environmental effects of the gas.

Gas hydrate deposits contain about three times the amount of methane currently in the atmosphere, and some scientists say an increase could lead to global warming and a significant change of the world's climate.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; US: California
KEYWORDS: california; catastrophism; deposit; discover; hydrates; methanegas; scientists; xplanets

1 posted on 01/28/2006 11:39:15 AM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge
Scientists discover frozen methane gas deposit off California

No, that is just the political speeches from Pelosi, Boxer and DiFi.

2 posted on 01/28/2006 11:45:22 AM PST by freedumb2003 (American troops cannot be defeated. American Politicians can.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Drilling for oil was difficult and virtually non existent 150 years ago. Technology has come a long way and will go even farther.

"Scientists were plumbing the Pacific Ocean on an unrelated expedition when they accidentally. came across the volcano,"

Amazing that something like that could exist less than 20 miles off the coast of California and we're just now discovering it. The wealth of the resources in the ocean boggles the mind and we've yet to discover a fraction of it.

3 posted on 01/28/2006 11:45:26 AM PST by Rebelbase (I love global warming in the winter.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Methane hydrate is a geological hazard. No one has yet developed technology to mine it safely.


4 posted on 01/28/2006 11:45:56 AM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: NormsRevenge
Although scientists say a new source of natural gas would provide a near-limitless energy source, some worry about the environmental effects of the gas.


5 posted on 01/28/2006 11:47:25 AM PST by Noumenon (Liberal activist judges - out of touch, out of tune, but not out of reach.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Frozen farts.


6 posted on 01/28/2006 11:49:49 AM PST by Moonman62 (Federal creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it)
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To: Moonman62

Yeah, I was thinking I could figure out a way to light and heat my whole house - and eat whatever I want, too!


7 posted on 01/28/2006 11:53:07 AM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: Moonman62
Frozen Methane Eh.....

Better get that out before global warming takes its toll.

8 posted on 01/28/2006 11:54:10 AM PST by spokeshave (I can give you my opinion, but I can't understand it for you.)
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To: NormsRevenge; Professional Engineer; sionnsar
Again: such very, very deep discoveries of methane bring up questions about the basic source of these light hydrocarbons.

Coal? No questions: The coal beds clearly are from laid down buried plant deposits. But methane/hydrocarbons/oil from deeper than 5,000 feet?

Not even the Grand Canyon rocks (themselves barren/void of life that deep!) support massive amounts of life: and these on the ocean floor are three times as deep, implying three times older.
9 posted on 01/28/2006 11:57:54 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Rebelbase
[ The wealth of the resources in the ocean boggles the mind and we've yet to discover a fraction of it. ]

True.. methane is obviously natural.. Maybe fusion should not be the solution to our energy problems but finding out how methane is created naturally.. The answer could be technologically feasible and maybe cheap.. Heck an organism makes ALCOHOL, why not.. Maybe a genectically engineered critter to feed on underground coal deposits creating methane.. There no lack of coal..

10 posted on 01/28/2006 11:58:44 AM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: NormsRevenge

Umm, did they find it in Senator Boxer's head?


11 posted on 01/28/2006 12:18:33 PM PST by Mobile Vulgus
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To: hosepipe

Why not genetically engineer crops to capture fusion energy from the Sun?


12 posted on 01/28/2006 12:22:12 PM PST by Moonman62 (Federal creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
Not even the Grand Canyon rocks (themselves barren/void of life that deep!) support massive amounts of life: and these on the ocean floor are three times as deep, implying three times older.

Ummmm...the ocean floor...EVERYWHERE on the earth, is very young. Not even remotely close to the oldest land rocks; oceans keep getting destroyed by subduction zones. The oldest ocean crust on earth is only 160 million years old.

13 posted on 01/28/2006 12:22:47 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: Mobile Vulgus

They could mine methane gas forever from Congress!


14 posted on 01/28/2006 12:28:45 PM PST by OnRightOnLeftCoast
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To: OnRightOnLeftCoast

The newly discovered deposit is located at the summit of a mud volcano 15 miles off the Southern California coast. Scientists were plumbing the Pacific Ocean on an unrelated expedition when they accidentally came across the volcano, which sits on top of an active fault zone in the Santa Monica Basin.

I would only rent.......volcano........active fault zone


15 posted on 01/28/2006 12:45:22 PM PST by Recon Dad (Force Recon Dad)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
But methane/hydrocarbons/oil from deeper than 5,000 feet?

How old can the terrain atop a mud volcano be? The water may be deep but ocean floors are among the youngest crusts on earth.

16 posted on 01/28/2006 12:57:35 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Condimaniac)
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To: Strategerist
Right: So you see my dilemma.

If "oil" (methane/light oils/heavy crude oils/heavy-tarry asphalts) were ALL coming from the pre-Cambrian/early plant deposits getting squished/baked together, then how could they found under the ocean floor in these "new ocean" floor areas?

The "renewal" of the ocean crust seems to preclude either from happening:

1. New ocean floor is coming up from the interior lifeless and barren and uncovered. It CAN'T have either: earth's surface plant/organic life, nor deposited ocean droppings (from fish and plankton and organic matter washed down from the shore rivers), nor covering sedimentary rock deposited over the organic matter. So "new ocean floor" can't have oil.

2. "Old" ocean floor flowing "into" a subduction region gets heated and destroyed as the rock itself is melted. (The Ring of Fire" around the Pacific is the circle of volcanoes that arise as this newly melted crustal rocks comes up from the subduction zone.) Any oil/methane in these rocks that is subducted is clearly also destroyed as a chemical. Supporting this conclusion is the fact that no "oil fields" are discovered "past" (further inland) subduction zones.

3. The rest of the "ocean floor" just hasn't been around long enough for its deposited organic matter to (1) build up in enough quantities, get covered by sedimentary (dead rock) matter to get enough heat and pressure to turn into what we find now as oil.

Second. Off of "stagnant" undersea plains, we KNOW absolutely that oil is found (North Sea, TX/LA/FL coasts, Venezuela, Malaysia, etc. So, in these undersea fields, we have a different problem. The TIME that the original organic matter got deposited in order to FORM the oil fields that we now find doesn't seem to add up: If somebody finds pockets of oil/gas under 10,000-15,000 feet of rock, then ALL of that rock HAS to have been deposited AFTER the surface plant life lived, and BEFORE the "ocean" covered up the plants/microbes. And there isn't enough time for that to have happened.

Third: Many inland oil fields are also too deep to be explained by surface plants and microbes. In the MidEast and deep TX and OK fields, the land is basically stagnant since the Appalachian mountains were formed and Africa broke away from North America. So ALL of the oil had to have been deposited ALREADY that many thousand feet underground BEFORE the mountains were raised up.

And not only had the (surface) plants and organic matter have to been alive long enough to be captured and buried, but the 10,000 feet of surface rock had to be deposited as well to create the mass.
17 posted on 01/28/2006 12:59:42 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Mike Darancette
But methane/hydrocarbons/oil from deeper than 5,000 feet?

How old can the terrain atop a mud volcano be? The water may be deep but ocean floors are among the youngest crusts on earth.

Right: So IF our "oil" and "gas" deposits come from deeply deposited (surface) plant and animal matter transformed BY the pressure of its overlaying rock and heated by the earth's internal heat over millions of years: HOW can tons of frozen methane be found AT THE TOP of a "new" volcano off of CA with NO overlaying rock (to create pressure!) and NO massive millions of millions of pounds of plant matter deposited to create the source carbons?

18 posted on 01/28/2006 1:05:02 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Rebelbase; NormsRevenge; Grampa Dave; SierraWasp; Dog Gone
Related and thought provokating thread:

Ready for $262/barrel oil?

19 posted on 01/28/2006 1:06:34 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

This does seem to lend some credence to Gold's theory, nicht war?


20 posted on 01/28/2006 1:10:51 PM PST by Seeking the truth (0cents.com - Freep Stuff & Pajama Patrol Stuff)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
Shhh! Shhh!
{You'll awaken "them"!}
21 posted on 01/28/2006 1:17:09 PM PST by labette (In the beginning God created....)
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To: NormsRevenge
Scientists have discovered an undersea deposit of frozen methane just off the Southern California coast, but whether it can be harnessed as a potential energy source is unknown.

It's also highly explosive and the airbubbles it creates when it explodes can sink large ships and down airplanes.

22 posted on 01/28/2006 1:18:08 PM PST by Paul C. Jesup
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To: Seeking the truth

No, it doesn't. Volcanoes have long been known to produce methane. Nobody disputes that methane can come from inside the core of the earth.

Gold's theory is that OIL does also. Quite different, and not considered serious science by nearly everyone in the field.


23 posted on 01/28/2006 1:18:56 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

Volcanos produce methane. In fact, LOTS of things produce methane.

There's methane on the moons of Saturn.

Oil is created almost exclusively in a marine environment. All of the inland oil fields were once under sea water. It's millions of years of dead algae, fishpoop, plankton, etc., settling to the sea floor.

When there is an upthrust or the sea level drops, this muck gets covered with sand as the seashore changes its position. A whole layer of sandstone on top of the muck is the result.

Repeat dozens of times. Add some reefs and bony deposits to make some limestone layers.

Compress and heat for eons.

That's how you get oil.


24 posted on 01/28/2006 1:27:36 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone



..left coast enviro-wackos will find some kind of problem with mining this stuff...



count on it


25 posted on 01/28/2006 1:35:42 PM PST by telstar1 (...peace is possible ONLY through precisely applied firepower...)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
HOW can tons of frozen methane be found AT THE TOP of a "new" volcano off of CA with NO overlaying rock (to create pressure!) and NO massive millions of millions of pounds of plant matter deposited to create the source carbons?

The terrain on that location of the Pacific Plate may be quite old since that area is not headed for subduction any time. The Pacific Plate is sliding along the NA Plate in a NNE direction and the terrain in question came from somewhere else.

The Mud Volcano may have coughed stuff that was buried deeper under the sea floor. As to why the Methane Hydrate did not fall apart that is a function of water temperature and pressure.

They did admit that this was unusual and I don't think that there is a neat Biogenic answer that comes to mind.

OBTW: Most coal and much of our oil comes from plant decomposition during the Paleozoic Era specifically the Coniferous Period (345-290 mya). During the Late Carboniferous collision of Laurussia (present-day Europe and North America) into Godwanaland (present-day Africa and South America) produced the Appalachian mountain belt.

26 posted on 01/28/2006 2:12:26 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Condimaniac)
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To: Paleo Conservative
Methane hydrate is a geological hazard. No one has yet developed technology to mine it safely.

It wouldn't take much warming to belch a large volume of methane gas to the surface. You don't want to be nearby when that happens.

27 posted on 01/28/2006 2:25:13 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Myrddin; NormsRevenge; Robert A. Cook, PE
It wouldn't take much warming to belch a large volume of methane gas to the surface. You don't want to be nearby when that happens.

You especially wouldn't want to be in a ship or platform floating on the surface. The methane hydrate bubbles would change the density of sea water below and cause the loss of bouyancy.

28 posted on 01/28/2006 2:28:36 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: Mike Darancette
NNE should be NNW
29 posted on 01/28/2006 2:40:06 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Condimaniac)
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To: Dog Gone

If we find oil on Io, it is a whole new game.


30 posted on 01/28/2006 4:20:02 PM PST by razorback-bert
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To: Moonman62
[ Why not genetically engineer crops to capture fusion energy from the Sun? ]

Been done.. their called Habanero Peppers..

31 posted on 01/28/2006 6:58:25 PM PST by hosepipe (CAUTION: This propaganda is laced with hyperbole..)
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To: Strategerist

Umm the oldest rock anywhere is only 6000 years old, give or take a few years.


32 posted on 01/28/2006 7:04:52 PM PST by balch3
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To: Mike Darancette
Concur with coal. Absolutely.

I know the conventional theory of oil formation - you can't grow up an engineer in South TX without knowing it (and smelling it!), but am curious: Why is not more likely that methane (the fundamental structure building block of a long-chained liquid "oil") could not be the more direct source of "oil" than the very highly organized "plant" biomass getting broken down by heat and pressure.

After all, if plant biomass were the source of oil at 10,000 - 15,000 feet down, then there you'd find coal in places that deep. And coal beds are typically shallow, but oil is found all over the world, in places where the rock traps the rising pools of oil/methane.

Biological source from original carbon and hydrogen in rocks, or trapped cosmic sources from the original comet residue?

Look at the ages and depth of the rocks above the oil. It takes a long time to get that many thousand feet of movement.

Placing 10,000 feet of rock above a mass of oil-prodcuing plant matter is greater than the (average) height of the Alps and Norwegian mountains, the Urals, and Appalachians and the Gobi Desert plateau. That's a LOT of movement if you assume that sediment and earth crust movement buried surface plant matter.
33 posted on 01/28/2006 7:37:29 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Paleo Conservative
You especially wouldn't want to be in a ship or platform floating on the surface. The methane hydrate bubbles would change the density of sea water below and cause the loss of bouyancy.

Could be the reason for the Bermuda Triangle?

34 posted on 01/28/2006 7:42:02 PM PST by airborne
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To: Paleo Conservative
Compared to trying to get squirrely magnetic bottles to contain a fusion plasma, it still sounds like child's play. So we should be doing everything possible to create technologies to use it as an energy source.

Green nazis will try to stop it out of fear of CO2. As though we can't simultaneously look for the thermostat controls. Green nazis have already killed more than 500 million people with their luddite junk science (see DDT), we shouldn't listen to them now on this, either.

35 posted on 01/28/2006 7:55:38 PM PST by JasonC
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

You've pretty much described the Abiogenic thoery of petroleum formation as described in Wikipedia below:



The idea of abiogenic petroleum origin was championed in the Western world by Thomas Gold based on thoughts from Russia, mainly on studies of Nikolai Kudryavtsev. The idea proposes that large amounts of carbon exist naturally in the planet, some in the form of hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are less dense than aqueous pore fluids, and migrate upward through deep fracture networks. Thermophilic, rock-dwelling microbial life-forms are in part responsible for the biomarkers found in petroleum. However, their role in the formation, alteration, or contamination of the various hydrocarbon deposits is not yet understood[1]. Thermodynamic calculations[2] and experimental studies confirm that n-alkanes (common petroleum components) do not spontaneously evolve from methane at pressures typically found in sedimentary basins, and so the theory of an abiogenic origin of hydrocarbons suggests deep generation (below 200 km) (see results [3]).

As with any petroleum, the idea goes, these hydrocarbons would migrate upwards with methane, sometimes bearing helium and nitrogen and heavy metals. Diamondoids are common in oil and gas and its nature probably is related to natural diamonds that come from earth's mantle. The proponents of abiogenic petroleum claim that reserves are never exhausted because they are filled from below. This idea was verified in 1999, when an oil basin named "Eugene Island 330" off the coast of Lousiana went from being a relatively depleted reserve to suddenly refilling with pure oil, causing production to quickly raise back up to levels competing with when drilling began. Further evidence, such as the 2004 creation of methane in a laboratory by Henry Scott of the University of Indiana of South Bend and associates using inorganic elements and compounds, and the well-known astronomical fact that hydrocarbons exist on planetary bodies that have never had life, evidence this theory.

As well, the implications of this theory are what have been used to find most of the recent reserves world-wide. Traditional biotic theory only predicts oil in certain rock at a certain depth, but the abiotic theory allows for much more. Reserves in much of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kazakhstan, the coast of Vietnam, and virtually all the oil in Russia were found either at depths or in source rock that are incompatible with traditional techniques. Recently, in Switzerland, Thomas Gold led an experimental drill for oil straight into pure granite, where he did indeed find enough to quickly produce one million barrels for testing.


As I said the Methane find off Los Angeles did not seem to be of Biotic origin.


36 posted on 01/28/2006 7:55:53 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Condimaniac)
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To: NormsRevenge

Photo of worms living on methane hydrate:

http://www.science.psu.edu/iceworms/viewxclose.html


37 posted on 01/28/2006 8:00:26 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: Mike Darancette

Interesting.

I had not heard of either Thomas Gold or (Russia's) Nikolai Kudryavtsev before, so I'll look them up. Thanks for the tip!


38 posted on 01/28/2006 8:02:00 PM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Hope they discover a way to collect the methane gas.


39 posted on 01/28/2006 8:04:39 PM PST by Dustbunny (Can we build it - Yes we can - Bob the Builder - Can we win it - Yes we can - Geo. W. Bush)
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To: Myrddin

"You don't want to be nearby when that happens"

Until they drilled the wells on the Long Beach and Seal Beach platforms their was large volumes of oil and gas boiling to the surface on the horseshoe kelp 7 miles off Long Beach harbor.

Same thing in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Before the platforms and drilling there was a giant oil slick from the Channel Islands to Mexico and all the beaches were covered with oil and tar.


40 posted on 01/28/2006 8:21:41 PM PST by dalereed
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
Thanks for the tip!

Have a good night.

41 posted on 01/28/2006 8:40:28 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Condimaniac)
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To: airborne
Could be the reason for the Bermuda Triangle?

There is some speculation about that. There's quite a bit of methane hydrate on the sea floor in that area, also in the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean.

42 posted on 01/28/2006 9:35:56 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: dalereed
I was aware of the oil slicks. The environmentalists just have to "save" us from evil oil drilling. It might get some oil on the beach. Ignorance. Not to mention the ads decrying drilling in ANWR accompanied by pictures of a lush forest. The liars are afraid to show the barren 2000 acres of ice at the proposed site. The sheeple won't make any effort to discern the truth.
43 posted on 01/28/2006 10:38:45 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: airborne

This is entirely plausible as an explanation for the bermuda triangle. History had an excellent show on this vry topic.


44 posted on 01/28/2006 10:41:21 PM PST by Toby06
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...
Note: this topic is from January 28, 2006.
Thanks NormsRevenge.
...located at the summit of a mud volcano 15 miles off the Southern California coast.



45 posted on 02/25/2012 9:00:48 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: KevinDavis; annie laurie; Knitting A Conundrum; Viking2002; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Mmogamer; ...
Note: this topic is from January 28, 2006.
Thanks NormsRevenge.
...the ecosystem surrounding the methane hydrate site was unlike any of the vast hydrate deposits around the world. Scientists found seashells and clams with unique characteristics, suggesting the area experiences an extreme flux of methane -- gas mixing with water...
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

46 posted on 02/25/2012 9:00:53 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: 75thOVI; agrace; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ...
Note: this topic is from January 28, 2006.
Thanks NormsRevenge.
...located at the summit of a mud volcano 15 miles off the Southern California coast.



47 posted on 02/25/2012 9:15:45 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: SunkenCiv

someone may have already posted this, yet I will still do it.......Barbara Streisand? Or Gray Davis?


48 posted on 02/25/2012 11:21:56 AM PST by ColdOne (I miss my poochie... Tasha 2000~3/14/11)
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To: NormsRevenge

off of California huh?

Might as well just scratch this latest find of the list then.

F’ing left coast freaks...
When is the big one coming?


49 posted on 02/25/2012 10:42:52 PM PST by mowowie
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