Oil spill in the gulf equals how many ancient trees?

What I mean is, since oil is comprised of ancient organic materials like trees, plants, dinosaurs, etc… How many trees would have had to go through the millions of years process of becoming oil to account for the amount of oil that has spilled into the gulf?



  1. 0 Votes

    Oil has the potential to create three times as much energy per kilogram than wood does, so my estimate is that it takes three times as many trees as the total mass of oil that has spilled so far. Between 1.0 and 1.26 million gallons of oil are spilling into the Gulf of Mexico each day, as of June 11th. One gallon of oil weighs 8 pounds. This means a weight roughly between 24,000,000 and 30,024,000 pounds of wood were fossilized to create the amount of oil that has spilled each day so far.

  2. 0 Votes

    Most oil derives from things like algae and plankton – definitely not dinosaurs (or any macroscopic animals in any significant way), and not really so much trees, either. Terrestrial plant remains do sometimes form hydrocarbon source rocks, but not in great volumes.

    And if the wood had been fossilized, that would mean the organic material had gone away, and not been available to make oil. The process of incorporating organic material into sediment to make oil source rocks is complex; “fossilization” is not really the appropriate word for the process.

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