What effect does removing oil from the earth have on the ecosystem?

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  1. John B Badd profile image59
    John B Baddposted 13 years ago

    I am not asking about the effect of burning oil or spilling it in the ocean.  I am looking to find out how removing oil from the ground effects the ecosystem.  Imagine we drained it and did not use it or spill it if it would help put you in the mind state for this forum.

    The way I understand the earth is that she operates as a living system.  Everything that happens fits into a natural cycle.  The plates float on soft metal and shift causing land masses to move.  Springs feed rivers which feed oceans which help to feed us. 

    What natural purpose does oil underground serve?  It obviously fills some type of hole and is under pressure or it would not spray out.  What effect does it have on the earth when we drain it?  Does it leave a void in the earth that becomes unstable because it is no longer filled with oil?  Does it cause the earth to shift?  Are their species that feed on oil underground?  Does it provide our atmosphere with any gasses that plants or humans may benefit from?

    1. profile image52
      Sprogposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I've often thought about the effect of removing large amounts of oil from the earth's crust,  it can't be good.  Oil has a high specific heat capacity,  which is the main reason it is used to fill radiators i.e it retains heat well - what is the net effect on the earth's temperature when you remove all the heat retaining oil?

    2. Alijah Johnson profile image61
      Alijah Johnsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this
    3. profile image53
      cynindesignposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I've been considering the same in the checks and balances of our Earth and have concerns about the large reservoirs of oil in the NW of USA....some say magma lubricates the tectonic plates, others say oil.  What concerns me here is the super volcano in Yellowstone and if they start pulling large quantities of oil out....how or if that will influence the stability of the Yellowstone area...
      The article posted by Elijah Johnson says that the earth is like a can of soup, once the soup is gone you still have the can and can stack it, etc...JUST ONE PROBLEM, our soup cans aren't filled to the point of positive pressure.....I think we saw enough w/ the mess in the gulf coast....pressure like never seen before....
      If we know less about our ocean than we do about outer space, what makes us think we are so smart below Earth's surface? 
      I think it's best to use less oil where and whenever possible. It would be good to locate the design and patents of a combustible engine created in the 60's that would get 100mpg.  The inventor and his wife were gunned down not long after the info was released.....between the oil and auto industry, they don't want us to know...and probably have it.

      1. profile image0
        jonnycomelatelyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        This. Forum is full of half-baked, unscientific ideas that come from well-meaning individuals with little factual knowledge.  When a respondent previously offered this Link:

        http://engineering.mit.edu/ask/are-we-h … oil-out-it

        who then took the trouble to read it right through?  Not many I suspect.  Yet it provides some clear answers to the original question!    Hopefully better understanding will result.

        Those with an inherent distrust of scientific answers will not be influenced, I fear.

        1. profile image53
          cynindesignposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Back to the soup can theory?  A little too simplified, don't you think? What I do understand that that oil formed over a great deal of time, the Earth made adjustments over that period of time....It comes out a lot quicker, would you agree? I was not referring to fracking, but oil wells and was concerned about drilling in the NW close to Yellowstone..... The focus for this article is to get oil and not so much on the health of the Earth.....To compare would be like a surgeon correcting w/ GREAT CARE an anatomical problem to improve health ....... MIT's attitude is more like tissue and bone harvest after someone dies....not a whole lot of skill needed or precision.....because they are already dead....MIT's attitude is all about the HARVEST....and to hell w/ anything else....soup can indeed.

  2. zrichards profile image60
    zrichardsposted 13 years ago

    Perhaps understanding what exactly oil is will help you reach a conclusion. When people call oil fossil fuels they are literally correct. Oil is dead animals, plankton to be more precise. When they die they sink to the bottom of the ocean. They get covered by rocks and mud and compressed in the ground. After millions of years of decomposition all that is left is hydrocarbons, or more commonly known as oil.

    Since a lot of oil is found in porous rocks on the bottom of the ocean I think removing all the oil at once could cause a collapse of some sort. When we drill oil it is relatively slow and the empty space is filled up with rock or water.

    1. John B Badd profile image59
      John B Baddposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I knew the oil was fossil fuel.  I guess what confused me was how all the fossil fuel seemed to end up in underground wells.  I would have thought it would be evenly dispersed.  I guess the pressure causes it to clump together?

      Do you know if it serves any purpose in the natural ecosystem?

  3. DzyMsLizzy profile image84
    DzyMsLizzyposted 13 years ago

    There are also many, many oil wells on dry land.  These do not get replenished.  I cannot help but think that as the oil is pumped out, it is going to leave a void, which will create vast caverns.  A lot of oil is found in shale and sandstone, which are not particularly strong rock formations.  They are deep; there is a lot of weight and pressure above them.
    Ergo, it stands to reason that at some point, there will be collapses, and those collapses will cause shifts in neighboring areas...possibly triggering earthquake faults into action. 
    There is also the matter of sinkholes.  I do not believe we need to look any further than our hunger for oil to find the cause.
    So, does oil serve a purpose in the ecosystem?  As a hydraulic fluid which can absorb compression, unlike water, I would say, "yes."   It is propping up large sections of the Earth's crust.

    1. John B Badd profile image59
      John B Baddposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I have a friend I work with who has theories that removing oil from the earth is causing an increase in earthquakes and weather changes.  He has a lot of theories I do not agree with but his convictions seemed strong enough to make me think about the possibilities.  I guess you could say he was my inspiration for creating this forum.  I am here to seek theories and facts. 
      I never thought of the oil as a hydraulic cushion.  Thank you for this perspective.

      1. DzyMsLizzy profile image84
        DzyMsLizzyposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        "The foot bone's connected to the ankle bone....the ankle bone's connected to the shin bone...the shin bone's connected to the knee bone.... ... ... "


      2. profile image54
        innocint1posted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I have always thought the same that removing oil causes earthquakes.

      3. profile image53
        james bishop21posted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Im no scientist and I dont have facts but i have similar theories or thoughts about our consumption of oil as your coworker. I believe taking oil out of the earth is affecting our climate because of the weight we are removing and burning off. If our earth is at a precise tilt on its axis and we remove billions of gallons of oil over a hundred years, I feel not only are we removing mass out from under the earths crust causing earthquakes But also i think we are removing weight that could off balance the earth's rotation cause crazy weather paterns. I havent researched any of this passed reading the respective posts in this forum. Any insight into my feelings on this are welcomed and appreciated.

  4. profile image57
    Always questioninposted 11 years ago

    Ok so this page fully buzzed me out! But straight up I fully think the same as your friend. Like after the first earthquake in Christchurch and then the Pike Mine disaster in the West Coast of the South Island happening not long after, it lead me onto thinking about oil being removed from the Earth's crust and if like cars when out of oil cease up. I thought about how the world is made up of plates and how they move all the time and if removing oil would make these plate have no lubercation to move freely so this would cause friction between plates resulting in devastating earthquakes. And the more oil removed the worst they become...
    Also with your friend commenting on weather, I had never thought about it being a result from the oil and earthquakes. Maybe with all the plates moving with friction and it's causing issues to the weather patterns as the world is taking a new form...
    Makes you wonder huh?

  5. recommend1 profile image61
    recommend1posted 11 years ago

    As I understand it, when oil is removed water takes its place.  A well only pumps naturally when the pressure is first released and is then pressurised slightly because water replaces it and oil is lighter.  It is common practice to pump water in to get the oil out.

    The earth plates float on the molten rock beneath and have nothing to do with the relatively much higher oil deposits.   The deposits are the ancient ocean beds when land animals had not yet developed and the seas were packed with life,  chalk is comes from the same era and is formed from the shells and skeletons of sea creatures - the depths of these deposits can be seen in some places like the white cliffs of Dover.

    Ground collapses generally result from mining activities and are relatively localised and small in nature if occasionally dramatic.

  6. harsh bull jew profile image59
    harsh bull jewposted 9 years ago

    yes, but the earth does not charge money for its oil, therefore its going to be all sucked out as quick as possible like a cave full of gold,  the earths extreme oil energy is supplying us with everything!
    even food is produced by oil, many countrys import food from across the globe, when the oil stops soon, we are absolutely screwed! WW3 watchout.

  7. Troy Schmidt profile image56
    Troy Schmidtposted 9 years ago

    I think that there are organisms living in oil and using it for food.

    I also think that the ecosystem of oil is connected to the greater ecosystem.

    This is a very unpopular idea, the idea that oil was serving an ecological function. Oil is old, and since oil began seeping, life has evolved ,. actually methane seeps may be considered the origin of life soon, but we're talking about complex organic activity from seepage that affects a possible the entire surface. (water tables disperse other byproducts of the organic activity associated with hydrocarbons)

    I am arguing that oil pumping causes great degradation of the ecosystem.

    1. profile image53
      JamesFox7posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Finding oil in a liquid state is to find it in an intermediary state. Liquid oil becomes shale which is an organic sedimentary rock. The word organic is key as oil comes from dead muscle tissue and blood. This explains its high energy content. Given time, organic sedimentary rock breaks up to form fertile soil. There is a finite amount of matter in the earth- oil is in the process of becoming a life source for new plants. When the earth's oil is burnt the net potential for life on earth decreases. The net result is an increase in death. It means taking away the opportunity for dead organism to become new life.

      1. Troy Schmidt profile image56
        Troy Schmidtposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        So, how well is the effect described? I know you are using your own logic for this description, but for example, hydrocarbon seem from reserves does become new life, it is food for a variety of organisms (mostly bacteria and fungus). Some of these organisms are symbiotic with certain plants, and are only found in the rhizospheres of said plants. Seep reduces with pumping, (actually leaking can occur as a result of drilling, but as pressure is released and also quantity is reduced, there is less surface phenomenon). . But if you ask a college professor, they'll tell you that oil is sterile... ? How impactful was the initial oil booms? how impactful were the asphalt mines of old and through the modern era? (the asphalt on the surface of the earth was essentially depleted in many areas). how impactful are our modern oil derrecks (considering ocean seep feeds life where no other life might live).

  8. wrenchBiscuit profile image68
    wrenchBiscuitposted 9 years ago

    Capitalism is a cancer upon this Earth. We should be wary of any capitalist concern of global proportions, such as the oil industry. We do not need  facts, or figures, or so-called authorities to tell us that the oil within this Earth was not put there for the sole purpose of the automobile, or any other form of transportation. Obviously it performs an important function within the Earth that we do not yet understand.

    The Dust Bowl of the 1930's was a result of poor farming practices and drought. Ignorance, and the desire to cultivate more land, and make more money, led to a ecological disaster of epic proportion. We can only imagine what future disaster awaits mankind as a result of his addiction to oil, money, and convenience.

  9. Mark Ethier profile image60
    Mark Ethierposted 8 years ago

    Even this new ‘theory’ is just an interim step for baby boomers and older generations who got tricked by clever marketing and are struggling to accept the facts. The facts are that coal, natural gas, oil and diamonds all come from the same geological processes – carbon under heat and pressure. Varying the heat and pressure produces the different end-products.
    Titan, a moon of Saturn, has methane and other anes; perhaps it had dinosaurs at one time?!
    The only reason they wanted you to believe oil was decomposed dinosaurs (and now, decomposing plankton) is because oil was way too plentiful to justify rising prices. Demand and scarcity are both factors in pricing. A compound that practically gushes up when you poke a hole in the ground would not cost that much. A compound that simple folks believe took millions of years to create from a now-extinct life-form, that costs more.

    Don’t even start to investigate how De Beers creates artificial scarcity for diamonds by paying millions of dollars a year to take cartloads of diamonds out of the market, to maintain prices at scarcity levels. Then they sell this myth of hard-to-extract, ‘rare’ diamond, even though there is a beach in south Africa where the sand is like 75% diamonds, and the south African government will shoot you for trespassing.

  10. profile image53
    Omega86posted 6 years ago

    So this really interests me. I have not researched this, but it just makes sense to me that the oil is there for a reason, and I agree that the constant extraction may be the cause of an increase in earthquakes.
    I'm not sure what to believe about global warming for different reasons. One such is that I heard (and yes i dont know if its true or not) that the amount of ice that is melting on one side of the artic circle is growing to the same extent on the other side. So this got me thinking about axis tilt before i had heard anyone mention it. I thought it was my lack of memory or just me going mad thinking that the sun was rising and setting in a different position to what it had previously when i bought my house twelve years ago. Now, I install window awnings for a living and I recently had a customer that needed to install an awning on a house that he has lived in for 26 years. He was complaining about the late afternoon sun. This window always faced in a south westerly aspect. And now, he says "I've never had the sun shine directly through that window, until the last couple of years, and now i need to shade it". MIND BLOWN!

    1. wilderness profile image93
      wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Oil isn't all.  I'd have to guess (and it IS a guess) that the US takes as much water from under the ground as the world takes oil.  And it causes sink holes if not earthquakes.

      But axis tilt?  I don't think that can happen from wells of any kind.  Remember, the earth is not subject to gravity pulling on it unequally as you would be if you had a massive backpack on or something.  But it might add to the precession that the earth's axis is already subject to.

      In the US, the sun sets in the south west.  And for it to strike a window it would mean the house has rotated...or that something that WAS in the way of the setting sun is no longer there.  Trees, skyscrapers, hills, mountaintops, etc.

    2. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Omega, you say you are "not sure what to believe about global warming...".  This is what I see as the problem with some skeptical points of view:  the need to believe or disbelieve.

      Belief is something we use when there is no objective proof.  While there is sufficient supportive evidence to consider something proven, there is always room for new evidence to come along whereby we can modify (even discredit) the original conclusion.  "Belief" might give birth to further hypotheses, but belief is best left out of the equation when looking for definitive proof.
      The best antidote for countering disbelief is to keep asking questions, searching for answers, deeper thinking, learning from experiment and experience what works and what doesn't, testing and retesting...then being 100% honest about the findings.
      If, ultimately, you find there is no acceptable rational answer to any question, then it's reasonable to fall back on to beliefs.  Your choice.  But it's not reasonable to put up ill-informed beliefs in the face of careful, thorough, painstaking research --- because the honest scientist is never so 100% adamant as the believer tends to be in many cases.  IMHO

      Another aspect of what you have written, again from my own point of view, is the grasping at hearsay.  In other words, grasping at snippets of information which are then associated with semi-understood concepts, and coming up with distorted answers.  It these answers are then mixed in with cherished beliefs, the result can be mind-boggling confusion.  "Old beliefs" then become a welcomed relaxation therapy.

      Your interest in all these things is commendable.  Keep asking questions.

  11. profile image53
    Omega86posted 6 years ago

    Just to clarify, I live in Australia. The sun sets in the north west (supposedly). Not saying removing oil is the cause of a change in axis, but just wondering if it is completely normal that this happens throughout time.

    1. wilderness profile image93
      wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      LOL  Yes, that makes just a tiny difference, doesn't it? smile

      In that case it has to mean that the house has rotated 90 degrees.

  12. profile image30
    vishrayposted 5 years ago

    Yes It's really dangerous for future generations because exploring and drilling the land for oil may disturb the land and marine the ecosystem and also harmful for human lives.


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