Geologist: The dominant view that petroleum formed from the fossilized remains of plants and animals deep in the eart...

Bradley on April 3, 2022

Could you explain why E is not the right answer?

I understand that we have to weaken the geologist's view that petroleum could not have been formed by deep carbon deposits because of the existence of biomarkers in petroleum. However, if "some carbon deposits were formed from fossilized remains of plants," (answer choice E) wouldn't that explain how deep carbon deposits could have formed petroleum even though there are biomarkers in them? These biomarkers would exist from the fossilized plants in the deep carbon, which would allow for biomarkers in the petroleum while weakening the geologist's argument that deep carbon could not have formed petroleum. Thank you for getting back to me!

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Emil on April 15, 2022

Hi Bradley,

If some of the carbon deposits were formed from plants, that would actually strengthen the geologist's argument, not weaken it as it would explain that these biomarkers came from plants. Since plants live on the surface, this does not explain how the biomarkers from these plants would end up in carbon deposits deep in the earth. There is no real explanation of how this would happen. Furthermore, the geologist is arguing against people who claim the oil does not come from plant matter. E claims that some of it did come from plant matter. D, however, gives a strong explanation of how biomarkers could appear in deep-earth carbon deposits.