Hold the Zoics Accountable  


       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 world over.  

       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 lower part.  

      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 meaning recent).

        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 for rejoicing. 

       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 relegate 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.               
                                                                                           ―John Riedell


Return to Home Page    


Copyright © 2006 - John Riedell - All Rights Reserved
Site Last Updated on 08/06/08