Natural gas is a fossil fuel like oil and coal. Fossil fuels are the remains of plants and animals and microorganisms that existed millions of years ago. There are different theories of the origins of fossil fuels and the most widely accepted theory claims that fossil fuels are formed when organic matter such as the remains of a plant or animal is compressed under the earth at very high pressure for a very long time which is referred to as thermogenic methane. Similar to the formation of oil, thermogenic methane is formed from organic particles that are covered in mud and other sediment. Over time, more and more sediment and mud and other debris are piled on top of the organic matter. This sediment and debris puts a great deal of pressure on the organic matter, which compresses it. This compression, combined with high temperatures found deep underneath the earth, break down the carbon bonds in the organic matter. The deeper under the earth’s crust, the higher the temperature. At low temperatures (shallower deposits), more oil is produced relative to natural gas. At higher temperatures, however, more natural gas is created, as opposed to oil that is why natural gas is usually associated with oil in deposits that are 1 to 2 miles below the earth’s crust.
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