Experimental investigation of hydrocarbon formation and transformation under Earth´s upper mantle conditions

Sammanfattning: The theory of the abyssal abiotic petroleum origin considers oil and natural gas to begenerated in the Earth’s upper mantle. Hydrocarbons migrate further through the deep faults into the Earth’s crust, where they can form oil and gas deposits in any kind of rock in any kind of structural position. Until recently one of the main obstacles for further development of this theory has been the lack of the data covering processes of generation and transformations of hydrocarbons. Experimental data, presented in this thesis, confirms the possibility of hydrocarbons formation from mantle inorganic compounds (water, Fe, CaCO3 or graphite) at temperature and pressure of the upper mantle (1500 K and 5 GPa). Experiments were carried out in CONAC high pressure device and multianvil apparatus BARS. Compositions of received gas mixtures were similar to natural gas. Quantity of hydrocarbons depended on the cooling regime of reaction mixture under pressure. Slow cooling favored higher quantity. We found that donor of carbon (CaCO3 or graphite) determines formation of “dry” (methane-rich) gas or “wet” (light hydrocarbons-rich) gas. Experiments in laser-heated diamond anvil cells showed that methane and ethane partially react under upper mantle thermobaric conditions (2-5 GPa, 1000-1500 K) to form mixture of hydrocarbons: methane, ethane, propane and n-butane – main compounds of natural gas. Similarity of final product mixture obtained from methane and ethane means thermodynamic stability of hydrocarbons in the thermobaric conditions of the upper mantle and equilibrium character of the observed processes.