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It turns out that the origin and concentration of C in fossil fuels is important to the physics community because of its relevance for detection of solar neutrinos. Apparently one of the new neutrino detectors, the Borexino detector in Italy, works by detecting tiny flashes of visible light produced by neutrinos passing through a huge subterranean vat of "scintillation fluid". on the Applications of Accelerators in Research and Industry, J.
(Basically there are two ways of measuring C: (1) count the radioactive emissions, or, (2) a newer method, based on separating out the different carbon isotopes by their different masses via accelerator mass spectrometry [AMS] and counting the atoms themselves.) Dr.
A new species of bacteria found in deep, hot fossil fuels: "Isolation and characterization of Thermococcus sibiricus sp. from a Western Siberia high-temperature oil reservoir." 2001.
These results demonstrate that hydrogen-based methanogenic communities do occur in Earth's subsurface, providing an analogue for possible subsurface microbial ecosystems on other planets.
He only discussed radium, and discounted this as a major effect based on low concentrations of radium in coal (and yet my own brief stint of research has turned up many abstracts showing that concentrations of radionuclides vary widely in coal - some of these are pre-1989 so I don't know why Lowe didn't address this more carefully). on the Fundamental Aspects of Modern Physics, 2000, Luderitz, Namibia.
(3) bacteria/fungi hypothesis: Lowe then makes a reasonable case for fungi and bacteria - there are fungi that can degrade lignite (Polyporus versicolor and Poria montiola), as well as autotrophic "thiobacillus-like" bacteria that oxidize pyrites in coal, and he points out that bacteria have been found 3km underground apparently living on granite. Published by World Scientific Publishing Company in 2001.Geochemical characterization indicates that geothermal hydrogen, not organic carbon, is the primary energy source for this methanogen-dominated microbial community.