Thursday, June 21, 2007

Global Warming - ahem

In as much as Robert Thomasson has not commented on the Global Warming issue discussed in my Cookie Dough paper, I must fire another salvo in his direction.

Thomasson has stated that the oil companies argue against the concept of Global Warming because remediation methods would cut into their profits. It's all about the money.

I would suggest that academicians and government agencies tout Global warming to get grants and increase budgets using this Hot Topic. It's all about the money.

I can see how the governments of many countries might be alarmed at the prospect of sea level rising about 300 feet with the melting of the ice caps. How many national capitols would be flooded? Because there are glaciers and ice caps, we are living in an abnormally cold time in earth history.

This is an interesting video clip from 20/20 and John Stossel.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007


W. Jerry Koch, PhD, AH

As a petroleum geologist, one of my specialties is evaluating the distribution of oil source rocks, the thermal history of the areas and the probability of discovering economic accumulations of oil and gas.
What we describe as source rocks are accumulations of organic-rich, fine grained sediments through the photosynthesis, deposition and preservation of that organic matter, Hood, et al (1975). This is usually made up of micro-organisms, algae or plant material. NO, dinosaurs are not the source of most of our oil and gas. The Germans call source rocks, erdolmuttergestein, which translates to earth oil mother rock.
To convert the source rock to oil and gas involves what we call metamorphism, as described by Hood, et al (1975), which is basically cooking the rock. Research has shown that time and temperature are the keys to petroleum generation. Connan (1974) states, Chemical kinetic laws indicate that, to obtain a certain conversion, lower temperatures may be compensated by longer times. He has calculated that it takes 11.683 kilocals/mole to 13.794 kilocals/mol for the conversion. There has been much talk in recent years about a larger range of these kinetic factors.
For this paper, the actual numbers are not particularly pertinent. The important things to recognize are that the conversion from source rock to petroleum requires the input of calories and the actual combination of time and temperature can be varied to produce the same results.
In a paper by Meissner and Koch (1979), we discussed a technique for identifying yield and maturity of source rocks using a test-tube over a propane torch. The artificial test-tube-generating process is believed to be similar to that associated with natural time- and temperature-dependent process accompanying rock burial in depositional basins. The technique has been used to map source rock distributions and maturity thresholds in the Pennsylvanian of the western Anadarko Basin.
This brings us to cookie dough. I have eaten raw cookie dough since I was a small boy. This was much to the consternation of my Mother. To discourage me from eating the dough, she claimed the dough would form a ball in my stomach. That was one of the few times she tried to mislead me. At the time, I argued that I was saving electricity by not using the oven.
When referring to Hood et al (1975) I remembered that I periodically ate lunch on the lawn at the Shell Research Lab, in Houston with two of the authors. Once in a while, I bought a roll of cookie dough from the market, next to the lab, and ate it for lunch. Although we talked about cooking source rock I don’t recall talking about baking or not baking cookies.
Cookie dough is similar to source rock, in that, in order to convert the dough to cookies, the instructions are to bake them for a certain time at a certain temperature, Rombauer and Becker, 1975. I have even found that it is possible to cook them faster, if I set the temperature higher. Apparently the cooking requires a distinct amount killocals/mole. Obviously turning cookie dough into cookies is accomplished by adding calories to the dough.
The advantages of eating raw cookie dough, instead of baked cookies, are that it requires less electrical energy, reduces the calories and according to my daughter (a dedicated cookie dough muncher) reduces Global Warming.
Thus, I can justify eating cookie dough for reasons other than it tastes so good. For those of you who enjoy this pleasure, join me and feel content and live guilt free.

J. Connan, 1974, Time-Temperature Relation in Oil Generation, A.A.P.G.Bulletin, p. 2516-2521
A. Hood, C. C. M. Gutjahr and R. L. Heacock, 1975, Organic Metamorphism and the Generation of Petroleum, A.A.P.G. Bulletin, v 59, no. 6, p. 986-996
F. F. Meissner and W. J. Koch, 1979, Test Tube Pyrolysis, a Simple Technique for Identifying Maturity of Source Rocks: Abstract,
A. A. P. G. Annual Convention, 1979, Houston, Texas
I. S. Rombauer and M. R. Becker, 1975, Joy of Cooking, Bobbs- Merrill Co., p. 705

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The World And Mind Of Jerry Koch


As a resident of Elbert County for about 20 years I have assembled a strange set of observations, have noticed some quirks about rural living and about life in general. I plan to share some of this with you.

I am referred to as The Water Guy That No One Listens To. About 15 years ago I happened to ask, at a public meeting in Elbert County, "How much water do we have and how long will it last?" That led to a term as chairman of the Elbert County Water Advisory Board from January 1997 to December 2000 and now, from January 2007 to present. The journey has been very interesting.
I invite you to visit the Elbert County Water Board site on this blog.

As a contentious citizen, I have been in the long term struggle to reduce several types of noxious weeds including leafy spurge, knapweed and thistle. This has been guided by Kipp Nye, our very talented County Extension Director.

We know that growth and population increases are inevitable. What part will you play in making this county the best it can be?

Huggy Bear the Raccoon will treat us to some of her words of wisdom, as well as, lessons from other wild creatures.

As a geologist, my view of, so called Global Warming is from the Historical rather than from the Hysterical perspective.