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Title: My Life and the World of Crystals

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0031-8949
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physica Scripta; Journal Volume: 90; Journal Issue: 4
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Robinson, I, and Robinson, S. My Life and the World of Crystals. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1088/0031-8949/90/4/048003.
Robinson, I, & Robinson, S. My Life and the World of Crystals. United States. doi:10.1088/0031-8949/90/4/048003.
Robinson, I, and Robinson, S. 2015. "My Life and the World of Crystals". United States. doi:10.1088/0031-8949/90/4/048003.
title = {My Life and the World of Crystals},
author = {Robinson, I and Robinson, S},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1088/0031-8949/90/4/048003},
journal = {Physica Scripta},
number = 4,
volume = 90,
place = {United States},
year = 2015,
month = 3
  • Miller showed that if certain geological assumptions are made, a simple equation relates the half-life, the mass, and the oil generation or loss rate of the global oil system. However, my solution to the equation resulted in a major discrepancy: the amount of oil seepage we think takes place seems to be unsupported by the amount of oil we think exists. I found the most likely way to solve this involves a significantly larger global oil reserve. Miller therefore proposed a model for the global oil system, demonstrated the model's implications, and suggested the model could be used to assessmore » the global oil reserve. Ulmishek et al. accept the mathematics of the equation, but reject the concept because it is based upon assumptions they do not accept and because it requires highly uncertain parameters. However, they provide few new data on either the assumptions or the parameters and I find my assumptions more probable than their alternatives. In regard to the difficulty of supporting known seepage from known oil reserves, some of the discrepancy may lie in an underestimation of the global oil reserve. If the discrepancy is real, then this is the simplest solution. One clear indication that my model is not far from reality is its close agreement of the calculated half-life of reservoired oil for each of the past three half-lives. When considering where unsuspected oil reserves might be, Ulmishek et al. state the combined geological expertise of petroleum exploration and research over the last half century constrains the amount of undiscovered oil to smaller amounts. It is not good enough to argue that we have explored al the world's petroliferous basins, because we haven't. 5 refs.« less
  • Miller (1992) proposed a new approach to assessment of the world's ultimate recoverable oil resources. Miller's approach generates an estimate of reservoired conventional oil by combining an assumed exponential decay from seepage and cracking of oil with estimates of global steady-state oil generation and expulsion into large reservoirs. Although recognizing that his approach is conceptually innovative, it is important to point out serious difficulties with the underlying assumptions and data that diminish the utility of the method and the estimate that he reported. The comments focus on what is considered to be three principal problem areas: (1) treatment of uncertainty,more » (2) underlying assumptions, and (3) insensitivity to temporal and spatial heterogeneity in the geology of petroleum basins. It is agreed that none of the presently used methods of resource assessment provide highly reliable and accurate results. However, this inaccuracy stems not so much from poor methodologies as from the limits on the quality and completeness of the data available to the assessors. In general, the more and better the data available, the more certain are the assessments. Most assessment methods currently in use require tremendous amounts of data. Moreover, they use the experience and knowledge about regional geology gained and refined by generations of petroleum explorationists and researchers. It is the authors' contention that oil and gas assessment is best constrained by use of specific geologic knowledge of regions, basins, plays, and fields within the limits of current geological knowledge and models. This type of region-specific geologic knowledge and experience is not used in Miller's approach. Instead, his method relies on derivative variables expressed as world-wide averages within a basic material balance equation modeling exponential decay: system size (i.e., world oil resources) = (half-life [of oil resources] [times] system filling rate)/0.693. 9 refs.« less
  • In the spring of 1993, two groups of scientists will unite general circulation models with computer models of forests, grasslands, and swamps. The models will map changes in vegetation that occur as a result of climate changes. One model, BIOME, assigns 14 types of vegetation to 60 km square grids and tracks changes in vegetation patterns in response to changes in minimum temperature, degree days, and moisture. The other model, DOLY, works much the same way. Changes in vegetation cover will then drive the climate to a new equilibrium. Other ecologists are developing bottom-up models that try to describe howmore » species mixture and other complex factors that vary on small scales influence an ecosystems response to changes in climate. Hopefully the modelers will pool their strategies on an international network based at the University of Virginia. Also, large-scale field experiments are being conducted to study the interplay between natural ecosystems and climatic factors such as CO[sub 2]. Future projects will also attempt to account for changes caused by human activities such as deforestation.« less
  • The global oil system is dynamic, with fundamental parameters of volume, time, and flux rate. With certain geological assumptions, these parameters are mathematically linked by the equation, half-life = (0.693 {times} volume)/filling rate. Reservoired conventional oil has a well-defined half-life of 29 m.y., derived from the distribution of oil generation ages. The global oil reserve is therefore directly related to the global filling rate of reservoirs. If the global system is in equilibrium, then the reservoir filling rate cannot be less than the rate at which reservoirs seep (i.e., leak to surface). Both filling and leaking parameters are poorly constrained.more » Total global oil generation is estimated to be about 2.7 million bbl/yr. Surface seepage data suggest that at least 0.8 million bbl/yr of this enters reservoirs, the remainder escaping directly to surface without being trapped. This seepage rate cannot be supported under equilibrium conditions by global oil reserves of the size commonly supposed. The seepage rate implies global crude oil reserves of at least 4 trillion bbl, whereas typical current estimates based upon geological analogs are 2 trillion bbl, excluding tar sands. Either (1) the global oil system is out of equilibrium, and reservoirs are draining faster than they fill, or (2) seepage rates are low than supposed, or (3) most seepage is due to active generation and migration straight to surface, rather than leaking reservoirs, or (4) ultimate recoverable reserves are much greater than previously thought.« less