I don’t like talking about political appointees, but Chu is supposed to be a “scientist”.
If you don’t know the answer to something, it’s a good idea not to pretend that you do. Take a look at Chu’s appearance before the House Energy and Commerce Committee url (h/t reader Gene)
Chu was there as a scientist. Barton asked Chu how the oil and gas got to the Alaska North- wasn’t it warmer when the organics were laid down?
Chu rose to the bait, in effect foolishly denying that it was warmer up north in the Cretaceous, the date of key Alaska source rocks, attributing the presence of oil and gas in Alaska to continental drift. It “drifted up there”.
The most recent source rocks in Alaska were laid down in the Cretaceous – see here.
Four key marine petroleum source rock units were identified, characterized, and mapped in the subsurface to better understand the origin and distribution of petroleum on the North Slope of Alaska. These marine source rocks, from oldest to youngest, include four intervals: (1) Middle–Upper Triassic Shublik Formation, (2) basal condensed section in the Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous Kingak Shale, (3) Cretaceous pebble shale unit, and (4) Cretaceous Hue Shale.
By the Cretaceous, Alaska was more or less in its present position. Here is the relevant map from http://www.scotese.com:
It was still much warmer than the present up in the Arctic in the much more Pliocene (the period before the Pleistocene) only 2 million or so years ago. I did a post a couple of years ago showing some interesting Pliocene tree trunks recovered in situ from Canadian Arctic islands.
This is as bad or worse than some of the Bush malapropisms. Chu’s supposed to be a professional scientist. Chu had better raise his game if he wants to stick in the big leagues. Chu
Here’s an interesting test for Andy Revkin and other science writers. They aren’t shy about teeing off on George Will, who isn’t even a scientist, but will Andy (who’s an excellent reporter in my opinion) pile onto Chu or just give him a pass? Everyone knows the answer.
Here’s the exchange:
Barton: How did all the oil and gas.get to Alaska and under the Arctic Ocean?
Chu: [Laughs.] This is a complicated story. Oil and gas is the result of hundreds of millions of years of geology and in that time also the plates have moved around and so it’s a combination of where the sources of the ol and gas…
Barton: Isn’t it obvious that it was a lot warmer in Alaska and the North Pole? It wasn’t a big pipeline that we created in Texas …
Chu: There’s continental plates that have been drifting around through the geological ages…
Barton: So It just drifted up there?
Chu: That’s certainly what happened. uh, and it’s a result of things like that.
Chairman: Time has expired.