Oil is also known as petroleum, a term coming from two Latin words,
petra meaning rock and oleum meaning oil.
Rock oil seems an apt term, for this fluid is found in sedimentary rock the
According to a widely-accepted
explanation, petroleum originates from plants and animals that decomposed in seas and
released fluid and fatty substance. These became hydrocarbons,
droplets of gas and oil, buried under accumulated sediments at the sea
bottoms, sediments that compacted and hardened into rock. These
hydrocarbons infiltrated empty spaces. When the rock folded and broke,
the droplets moved up through openings along with salt water, some seeping
to the surface and some trapped in silt, sand, limestone or dolomite. The
lighter gas rose to the top, the oil to the middle and salt water to the
When you deal with rocks, you deal with geological time
where we meet words ending in “zoic.” This time has been broken down
into three broad eras with regard to the development of life on earth, with
“zoic” referring to animal (a zoo is a place for animals). We meet the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and
the Cenozoic eras (paleo meaning ancient, meso meaning middle and ceno
I’ve read that oil was formed in the
Paleozoic era, the age when coal formed in great swamps, yet there’s a claim
that the North Sea oilfields belong to the Jurassic age which is in the
Mesozoic era. The Jurassic is the age when dinosaurs roamed the
earth, and it’s named for the Jura mountains between France and Switzerland
where the rocks of this age were first studied.
As has been mentioned, some oil reaches the
surface and is a sure sign of its presence, but much of it is trapped in
rocks below the surface. You have to explore and find where it's at
and then drill down for it. Not every well pans out and that means all
the money that goes into a nonproductive hole is lost. There's a
certain gamble to it
We’re familiar with an oil gusher. For
those who invest, explore and drill for oil, it’s certainly a happy
occasion. Oil is found and gotten out of the ground! Today with
the price of gas at the pump soaring, we have another gusher--but it’s a
gusher of money coming out of our pockets. And that isn’t an occasion
But it is an occasion for exploring who's
responsible, and getting to the bottom of the problem.
We live in the Cenozoic era, which is said to
span about 65 million years from the Mesozoic to the present, and is
sometimes referred to as the age of mammals. One of these mammals is, of
course, our own species. Some of our human species have
constructed, what we might call non-geological layers on top of where
petroleum is found, It's as if they've constructed a Great Wall, flat on the ground, which obstructs drilling! The
type of thinking behind this, has gotten in the way of our national interest
and has made us vulnerable to being cut off from petroleum sources.
We have become far to dependent on foreign oil in an unstable world.
These obstructive layers have been laid down in modern times
in what we might call the Neozoic times, neo being Greek for
new. Our mammalian kind who've built these layers, are not sorting things out very
well for the common good of America. We may take the geological
suffix, apply it with humor to these folks, and refer them as “Neozoics.”
or simply “zoics.”
And on a serious note, we need to hold these zoics accountable.
We need to drill through their Neozoic layers,
down to the oil. We should have done so long ago. Let us
the obstruction of these “zoics” to the past and render it extinct along
with the dinosaurs. If they want a Great Wall, let them go to China.