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Date: 6/2/2010

Room: 18

Year: 8

Genre: Explanation Writing

How is oil formed?


Oil is a fossil fuel formed from the remains of Prehistoric animals and plants. It
had started forming millions of years ago. Maybe even more than 400 million
years ago.

The process in which oil is generated takes a very long time. Firstly tiny plants and
marine animals called plankton is slowly buried under mud and peat swamps.
After time the organic material is completely buried under a layer of mud and silt.
Starved of oxygen the organic substance of plants and animals decay slowly,
meanwhile the mud and silt turn into rock 3-5 kilometres underground the
organic materials ‘cook’ at 130c and convert into crude oil and gases.

The rock that formed was porous and it sucked up the oil. As more of the oil
formed it bubbled out filling the space around the rock thus trapping it. The oil
can’t travel to the surface as the rocks that are covering it were too solid because
the oil can’t reach the surface it forms large reservoirs under the sea.

Over time the earth’s tectonic plates shifted, causing continents to shift, lad to
rise from the sea and releasing pockets of oil. In some places oil springs and lakes
of oil appeared. The ancient people had no idea what oil was worth but they
quickly found uses for it. Uses such as medicine, waterproofing and building walls.

From the time oil was discovered to present we have found different ways to
bring oil to the surface. In Asia the Chinese used hollowed bamboo and the Native
Americans found ways too. But most of the supplies lay untouched as people
burned wood for fires, wind power to sail the seas and animals for transport.