Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Utah’s redrock may have changed global climate

04.12.2003


The Navajo Sandstone -- one of the brightly colored rock formations that comprise southern Utah’s famous redrock -- is exposed in the cliffs at Zion National Park, the Petrified Dunes at Arches National Park and in many parts of Capitol Reef National Park.

Now, a new study from the University of Utah concludes that bleaching patterns in the Navajo Sandstone suggest the rock formation once may have harbored vast amounts of hydrocarbons, likely natural gas (methane). And when the once-buried sandstone was exposed and started eroding roughly 6 million years ago, the gas would have been released to the atmosphere. Because methane is a so-called "greenhouse gas," the release of large quantities to the atmosphere may have warmed Earth’s ancient climate.

The study was published in the December 2003 issue of the journal Geology by Brenda Beitler, a University of Utah doctoral student in geology. A summary of that study is reproduced below. It was part of a news release issued by the Geological Society of America outlining contents of the December issue of Geology.




Bleaching of Jurassic Navajo Sandstone on Colorado Plateau Laramide highs: Evidence of exhumed hydrocarbon supergiants? Brenda Beitler, University of Utah, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0111, U.S.A.; et al. Pages 1041-1044.
Spectacular color variations in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone in southern Utah have long attracted the attention of geologists and laypersons alike. In this paper, we explain the cause of the color variations and discuss the implications. The Navajo Sandstone is perhaps the largest eolian (sand dune) complex on Earth, past or present. Abrupt red-white color transitions are believed to be the result of reducing fluids, likely gas hydrocarbons, flowing through the sandstone pores and removing the red pigment.

Field mapping and analysis of satellite imagery indicate both stratigraphic and structural control on where fluids have left the sandstone "bleached." The most extensive regional bleaching occurs on eroded crests of broad asymmetrical uplifts produced during Laramide deformation (Cretaceous-Tertiary age). Alteration patterns suggest that the faults that core these uplifts were carriers for hydrocarbons and brought the buoyant bleaching fluids to the crests of the anticlines where they bleached the sandstone in both structural and stratigraphic traps.

The extent of bleaching indicates that the Navajo Sandstone may have been one of the largest hydrocarbon reservoirs known. These ancient hydrocarbon traps have been extensively eroded, potentially releasing the bleaching gas into the atmosphere. The magnitude of the reservoir suggests that hydrocarbon escape could be significant in global carbon fluxes and possibly influence climate.

Lee Siegel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utah.edu/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>