Monday, July 20, 2009

Hydrogen Future

                                                                                   2011 update: A Hydrogen Rich Early Earth?

(Pluses and Minuses)

V.N. Larin, N.V. Larin

Picture 1. Vladimir and Nikolai - geologists.

Today the entire world dreams about switching transport and energy to hydrogen. This dream is particularly strong among the heavily industrialized countries, where dependence on hydrocarbons has long become a heavy burden. Hydrogen is an excellent source of energy. In the 1980’s, the Soviet Union has conducted successful flights of jet liners on hydrogen fuel. The use of hydrogen offers great benefits in space affairs - with the same starting mass a missile on oxygen-hydrogen fuel is capable of putting into orbit three times the load than a missile on oxygen-kerosene fuel. The burning of hydrogen significantly improves the efficiency of turbine generators for producing electricity. And we should not forget that during the combustion of hydrogen the only byproduct is pure water that can be drunk without the any fear.

But what really blows our minds is the design of cars fueled by hydrogen. It turns out that already in the end of the 19-th century a method was known for obtaining electricity via a direct chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, with practically no heat released. Already then it was discovered that if hydrogen and oxygen are separated by a permeable electrolytic membrane, a reaction would occur without burning, but with the release of electrical energy. Today, fuel cells of this type have been perfected so much, that they are widely utilized to obtain energy aboard the American space shuttles in orbital flight.

Now imagine a car equipped with such fuel cells. This car has a very compact electrical motor; it doesn’t need an injection system, an ignition system, a cooling or a lubrication system… In short, compared with the modern internal combustion engine, an electric engine is ridiculously simple and thus significantly more reliable and dependable. Such an engine will never have a problem with launching, and it doesn’t need a gearbox. It doesn’t need an exhaust pipe because it produces no exhaust - thus it is noiseless, and the only by-product is the aforementioned pure water. In an electric car the air conditioning and heating system work independently of the engine because those systems are autonomous. If you are snowed in and hopelessly stuck, which happens sometimes, you can comfortably wait for help for a week inside your car, in comfortable temperature, without any fear to get poisoned by the exhaust gases.

In short, this is not a car – this is some kind of fairy tale dream. And it has already come true – those magical cars are already treading the roads. Many leading auto manufacturers continue the race for creating more and more incredible masterpieces. Among other things, cars with fuel cells are incredibly economical – their efficiency stands at 80% while a modern gasoline engine trails behind at a mere 40% - the rest is emitted into the atmosphere in the form of exhaust gases. Just like that – the majority of energy goes down the exhaust, and in a form of toxic gases at that. Isn’t this so “last century”? Just imagine how our environment would change if everyone started driving those new cars – our cities will become quiet and clean.
So, hydrogen is extremely attractive. But why do we continue to live according to old ways and why don’t we hurry to implement a “hydrogen restructuring”? Here is the problem - where can we get hydrogen? On the surface of the planet hydrogen exists in the form of water. Water of course can be subjected to electrolysis and will yield hydrogen. But, when we use this hydrogen as an energy source, it will yield a lot less energy then the amount spent on producing it. Thus, in order to convert our transport and energy to hydrogen, we will have to burn a lot more coal and oil, and split more uranium – all of that to achieve a level of energy efficiency we already have. Experts see a hopeless economical dead end here. Areas where hydrogen will be used will see significant improvement, but the overall ecology of the planet will go downhill ever faster. A question arises – what’s the point?
Often experts proclaim dreamily – “if only streams of ready hydrogen were to emanate from the depths of the planet – then everything could be restructured quickly. But (they add immediately) – that is not possible because it is simply impossible, to our great disappointment”.

Streams of Hydrogen from the Depths of the Planet

Dear reader, you will laugh hard, but we, the authors of this article, have discovered those streams of hydrogen. Today we are ready to argue that this phenomenon is present on the Russian platform on a grandiose scale. But let’s start at the beginning.

Over the course of the last 17 years, numerous cases of crater formations have been noted in the central European parts of Russia. There are two types of craters – explosion craters and depression craters. Depression craters appear to be a well known and well studied phenomenon. It has to do with the formation of karst cavities (caves) in limestone which constitutes several hundreds meters of the sedimentary crust of the Russian platform. Explosion craters, however, constitute a mysterious and unexplained phenomenon.

Sometimes the processes that accompany the formation of explosion craters are quite impressive. For example, on April 12, 1991, a powerful explosion rocked the town of Sasovo (located in the south-east of the Ryazan region). Doors and windows were blown out by the shock wave in half the houses. According to experts, damage of such proportions could have been caused by a shock wave produced by an explosion of at least several tens of tons of TNT. But no traces of explosives were uncovered. At a distance of about 700 meters from the city limits, in the floodplain of the river Tsna a crater was discovered; its diameter was 28 meters and its depth - 4 meters.
In June of 1992, another crater appeared in a corn field 7 km north of Sasovo. Its diameter was 12 meters, its depth – 4 meters. This time nobody heard the explosion (but the crater was not there when the field was planted). The explosive character of the crater was determined based on a ring shaped ejection encircling the crater, in a shape of a roll. Additionally, according to testimony of witnesses who observed the crater in its fresh form, chunks and pieces of soil were scattered around it.

We have long suspected that the formation of those craters is somehow related to hydrogen degasification of the planet. We came across an opportunity to investigate our suspicions. Some talented Russian physicists have invented unique hydrogen gas analyzers, which are capable of measuring the content of free hydrogen in a gaseous mixture in the range of concentrations between 1 ppm and 15,000 ppm (ppm = parts per million; 15000 ppm = 1.5%).
We paid a visit to the Sasovo craters in August 2005. We invited Dr. Vladimir Syvorotkin to come with us; Dr. Syvorotkin is a doctor of geology and mineralogy who has had previous experience working with the hydrogen gas analyzers and he happily agreed to familiarize us with his method of “hydrogenometrics”.
Measurements in the Sasovo area revealed the presence of free hydrogen in the subsoil air. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the crater (the one located in the floodplain, near the damaged city) has turned into a small lake, thus no measurements were taken inside the crater itself. However, both in the immediate vicinity of the crater, and at a distance of several hundreds meters, the presence of hydrogen in the subsoil air was established. The observed concentrations were unusually high, which surprised Dr. Syvorotkin, and pleased us. The second crater was intact and completely dry; measurements at the bottom of it showed a hydrogen concentration which was double the concentrations in the nearby lying areas.
Picture 2. Dr. Syvorotkin and his son near the Sasovo crater. August 2005

We were very pleased by the possibility of obtaining results right on the site. You drill a hole in the soil, stick a pipe in it, pump the subsoil air into the analyzer and in 2-3 minutes read the result from the display. We purchased three hydrogen gas analyzers (ranges of measured concentrations: 1-100 ppm, 10-1000 ppm and 100-15000 ppm); perfected the process of sampling the subsoil air according to our purposes, and undertook several expeditions to the central areas of the Russian platform in 2006-2008.
We carefully studied a depression crater located in the north-east of the Lipetsk region, on an agricultural chernozem (black soil) field. It had a diameter of 14 meters, a depth of 4.5 meters. There were no ejections around it. The locals have discovered the crater in the spring of 2003. The drilling we performed has revealed lumps of fat chernozem in the sands of Cretaceous age at the depth of 3 meters (below the bottom of the crater). These lumps have fallen there from the surface, which clearly reaffirms the crater’s depressive nature.
Picture 3. V. Larin near the depression crater in the Lipetsk region. Fall 2006.
Measurements at the bottom of the crater showed zero hydrogen. At a distance of 50 meters west and further, the first (most sensitive) analyzer started showing hydrogen concentrations of several ppm, but no more then 5 ppm. But at a distance of 120 meters, it “drowned” in hydrogen. The second analyzer showed a concentration of 100 ppm in the same spot. Detailing this site revealed the presence of a local hydrogen anomaly which stretches horizontally for 120 meters and has a width of 10-15 meters, with maximum concentrations of 500-600 ppm.

About Some Properties of Hydrogen
One of the distinguishing characteristics of hydrogen is its unique ability to diffuse in solids at a speed which is significantly (several times) higher then that of other gases. In this regard we have no reason to believe that we have identified a local anomaly that is buried and has been left (preserved) from ancient geological times. Rather, it is most likely that we have discovered a point of exit of a modern hydrogen stream to the surface.
Geological experience teaches us - if Earth phenomena are closely linked in space and time (in our case - depression crater and hydrogen stream), it is likely that they are also linked genetically, i.e. are derivatives of the same process. Such a process, apparently, is the hydrogen degasification of Earth.

Hydrogen (literally – “bearing water”) is a chemically active element. In the upper portions of the Earth crust there is a lot of free oxygen buried in the pores and cracks between the rocks, as well as weakly chemically bound oxygen (predominantly in the form of oxides and hydroxides of iron). When the endogenous stream of hydrogen is making its way up to the surface, it is certain that it is being used up for water formation. And if the stream actually reaches the surface, we can be sure that it is much more powerful in the depths of the crust; accordingly we should assume that there are inner-earth (endogenous) processes going on that we, the ones living on the surface, should take into consideration.

First of all, the underlying fluid streams are never made up of only hydrogen. They always include chlorine, sulfur, fluorine and other elements. We know this based on other regions where the degasification has been taking place for a while. These elements are present in the water-hydrogen fluid in the form of various compounds, including in the form of acids (HCl, HF, H2S). Thus the hydrogen stream forms acidified water at the depths of the first few kilometers, which, in addition, must possess an elevated temperature (due to the geothermal gradient and the heat associated with the chemical reactions). Such water “eats up” the carbonates very quickly.

There are hundreds of meters of carbonates in the sedimentary crust of the Russian platform. Traditionally we are accustomed to thinking that the formation of karst cavities in the crust – is a slow process, because we typically associate it with the seepage of rain and snow waters into the depths; these waters are practically distilled and also cold. Their ability to dissolve anything is very small. The discovery of a hydrogen stream (and a fresh depression crater next to it) forces us to update our customary views. Acidified hot water which forms en route of the hydrogen stream has the capacity to “eat out” the crust very quickly, form karst cavities and thus provoke the appearance of depressions on the surface of the Earth (when we use the word “quickly”, we are not referring to the geological time, instead we are referring to our, human, fast flowing time). Below we will discuss the scale of this phenomenon further.

Mysteries of the Sasovo Explosion
Now let’s return to the explosion crater near the town of Sasovo. A lot of mystery is surrounding it. The explosion occurred on the night of April 12, 1991, at 1:34 am. However, four hours earlier (on the late night of April 11), large (huge, according to witnesses) glowing spheres began floating around in the area of the future explosion. One such sphere, bright-white in color, was seen above the railroad station. The sphere was seen by the railroad employees, numerous passengers, and the locomotive driver (who raised the alarm). The unusual phenomena in the sky were seen by the students of the flying school of civil aviation, the railway workers, and the fishermen. An hour before the explosion, an odd glow was spreading above the surface of the future crater. Half an hour before the explosion, locals living in the outlaying areas of town, saw two bright-red spheres above the site of the future explosion. At the same time, people felt the earth shaking and heard an underground buzzing. Right before the explosion, the inhabitants of nearby villages saw two bright-blue flashes that lit up the sky above the town.
The powerful explosion was preceded by an intensifying buzz. The earth started shaking, the walls started shaking, and only then a shock wave (or waves?) hit the town. Houses began swinging from side to side, televisions and furniture fell over, chandeliers were broken to pieces. Sleepy people were thrown off their beds and covered in broken glass. Thousands of doors and windows, as well as roof sheets were torn off at the root. Due to incredible pressure fluctuations, manhole covers were blown off; hollow objects were bursting – sealed jars, light bulbs, even children’s toys. Underground – sewage pipes were bursting. When the roar stopped, the shocked people heard buzzing again, but this time it seemed to be receding…
All this is not like an ordinary explosion. Explosives specialists estimate that in order to do such damage to the town, no less then 30 tons of TNT had to have blown up.
But why, then, such a small crater? Just one ton of TNT is enough to produce a crater that size (V. Larin is saying this, who is concurrently an explosives specialist with many years of experience; after seasons in the field he had to detonate 1.5-2 tons of explosives because the warehouse won’t take them back).
It seems also very odd that in the immediate vicinity of the crater the grass, shrubs and trees remained intact (not damaged by neither the shock nor the high temperature). The poles standing nearby were tilted towards the crater? And why were the manhole covers blown off, and what was the reason for the bursting of the hollow objects?
And finally, why did the “explosion” appear to be stretched over time and preceded by buzzing, earth shaking and the unusual lighting phenomena (apart from the glowing spheres and bright flashes, which were observed before the explosion, the crater itself glowed in the dark at night, until it was filled with water).

The reason behind the mysterious “attack” on the town remained unknown. Specialists came to the conclusion that neither humans, nor nature were capable of such a thing. This conclusion was a generous gift to UFO researchers, who had a feast with it.

Now our version. We know that in the middle parts of Russia there is a possibility for local hydrogen streams. These streams are accompanied by the formation of hot water, which is also highly mineralized. When thermal mineralized water enters a zone of lower temperature and pressure, it releases its minerals in the form of various “hydrothermalytes”, while filling in the existing system of permeable pores and cracks. As a result, the hydrogen stream in the upper regions of the crust may form a kind of dense “cap” around itself, thus blocking the hydrogen’s way out to the surface. This barrier causes the accumulation of hydrogen and other gases in a certain volume (in a “boiler”) under the cap, thus leading to a sharp increase in pressure. (Bubbles of gas that pop up from great depth in a poorly compressible liquid, lead to the increase in pressure in the upper portion of the system filled with this liquid). When the pressure in the boiler reaches a certain point, a bursting of the cap and the above soil occurs. And we get a massive ejection. The contents of this ejection are primarily hydrogen and water. In this way, the Sasovo crater was formed not by an explosion, but by a bursting of a gaseous stream, consisting mainly of hydrogen; that’s why it (the crater) is so small (at great speeds, gaseous steams preserve their diameter, and when hitting the exit, they even separate from the walls).

The explosion itself occurred in the atmosphere where the hydrogen steam mixed with oxygen and created a cloud of explosive gas, which in its turn exploded, i.e., this was a massive explosion. A large amount of heat was released which lead to a sharp increase (explosive dispersion) of the products of the reaction. When explosions of such great volume occur, a zone of dilution (with lower pressure) forms behind the front of the shock wave. The same effect can be seen in explosions of the so-called “thermobaric bombs”. We ought to note that when explosives specialists studied the Sasovo event, they noted that many things (ripped off metal manhole covers, bursting of hollow objects, burst doors and windows…) pointed to an explosion of the thermobaric type. But the military insisted that an explosion of a “thermobaric bomb” must be excluded as a possible cause of the event. Still, the area was combed with the latest metal detectors, but no fragments of a bomb shell were found.

It is interesting to note the results of calculating the possible size of the underground boiler with the following parameters:

§ The “boiler” was 600 meters below the surface, where the pressure was 150 kg/cm2;
§ It had a volume in which there was only 5% porosity in the form of interconnected cavities;
§ The interconnected cavities were filled with hydrogen under the pressure of 150 atm;
§ Only one twentieth portion of the ejected gas exploded; everything else got disbursed in the atmosphere;
§ The portion that exploded emitted the amount of energy equal to the explosion of 30 tons of TNT.

Under these parameters, the volume of the “boiler” could have been approximately 30x30x50 meters. Thus, the boiler was miniature on a geological scale. But the energy accumulated in it was thousands of times greater then the energy in the boilers of thermal power plants. There is a thermal power plant within approximately one kilometer of my building; when they are releasing pressure in that boiler – I go deaf and the windows in my apartment start vibrating. Now try to imagine what the buzzing and the vibration would be like if near your house there was an underground boiler, thousands of times more powerful - and it gave a crack, and its contents were rushing out, making their way through a 600 meter layer of rock. It would seem like a powerful earthquake accompanied by a strong underground buzzing.

Now let’s talk about the mysterious lighting phenomena. Strong electrification in the region of an upcoming earthquake is normal: the hair stands up on ends, the clothing ridges and crackles; everything you touch strikes with sparks of static electricity. And if this takes place at night – you start glowing. A dry handkerchief can fly away just like a magical flying carpet. This phenomenon is beautiful, but somewhat terrifying at the same time (you never know how hard the quake will hit). Many seismic shocks are accompanied by the appearance of glowing spheres (especially near the epicenter). Some researchers call them “plasmoids”; but giving an entity a name does not mean understanding its nature – the true nature of these phenomena is yet to be determined.
During the famous 1966 earthquake in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), the main shocks came at night. At the first signs, the local authorities immediately turned off the city’s electric supply. However, even with the electricity unplugged, some street lights lit up by themselves and remained lit during the seismic shock and for 10-15 minutes afterwards. The official report on Tashkent’s earthquake talks about dark cellars (which had no electrical lighting at all), which lit up and you could see in them just like in broad daylight. Some theories were postulated that the electrification and the lighting effects had something to do with the accumulation of charged states in the rocks.
Thus, if a hydrogen stream gets «locked up» deep underground, it may cause the formation of a crater as a result of a breakthrough of the gases to the surface of the Earth. And perhaps this breakthrough is not always accompanied by a voluminous (thermobaric) explosion in the atmosphere. If, however, the hydrogen stream reaches the surface smoothly, we get a depression (karst) crater. Apparently, those variations are due to the differences in the physical and chemical properties of the rocks through which the hydrogen infiltration takes place.
Picture 4. A photo made from space in the winter. The pictured territory is located 20 km south of Lipetsk. The dark areas are the forest. The light areas are fields covered with snow and separated by forest-protective barriers. The black dots are towns. This exposure under the low winter sun makes the craters particularly visible. We are at a loss of words to express the surprise at the revealed picture. And this is by far not the only place with such high density of craters.

In places, the amount of craters baffles the imagination (see picture 4). Among them we come across structures with diameters of many hundreds of meters and even kilometers. In many cases we can see that inside those large craters there is no trace of collapses or breakthroughs, and the soil layer is undisturbed. This observation leads us to think that besides depression and explosion craters, there exists another type of structures; we shall talk about it in more detail after we discuss the existence of regional hydrogen anomalies.

The “Dacha” Anomaly
Taking trips to the central chernozem region is a pleasurable thing, especially early in the fall, when it’s harvest time, there aren’t too many mosquitoes and the weather is still nice. But at the same time, these trips are onerous because of the need to ride in a heavy SUV with tractor treads on the wheels (otherwise the region is useless in the wet weather). Additionally, the trips are tiring because of single lane roads, filled with slow-crawling cargo transport. So, every time we were once again stuck in traffic, we would dream – “how great would it be if we discovered a hydrogen anomaly right in our dacha”, to which it only takes one hour to get to via the highway from an apartment in Moscow. At the dacha there is a shower, a sauna, bad weather can be waited out by the fireplace; but once the rain is gone – you can start working right away.

During the next routine trip to the dacha we tested for hydrogen right on our property. We got a reading of over 500 ppm. We started measuring all around; first within meters, then within tens of meters, then hundreds of meters and finally within kilometers. Everywhere the reading was hundreds of ppm; and every fourth reading was above 1000 ppm. Currently we established that there is a regional anomaly in the Moscow region; its length from south to north is at least 200 kilometers; its width at least 100 km. We still have not determined its exact contours and we suspect that it is larger because some peripheral measurements showed values of above 1000 ppm. This anomaly covers the entire city of Moscow.

New Data

Everything written above is based on work that was performed in 2005 and 2006. In the following years we continued our research and we can report to you, dear reader, that hydrogen degasification has not stopped, instead it has a clear tendency to grow. It expands onto new territories, and clearly becomes more intensive. Two years ago we were quite satisfied using instruments that were capable of measuring concentrations of up to 1000 ppm (up to 0.1%). Nowadays, in the spring of 2008, we rarely turn those on, because we encounter concentrations of 1% and higher. Our most “insensitive” instrument has a scale of up to 1.6% (up to 16,000 ppm); but this year even this device has been “drowning” in hydrogen in places. Those places include even our control points, where no such off the scale concentrations were previously seen.

Previously we distinguished between two types of craters: depression craters and explosion craters. Now we ought to add another type of structures to this list: the so called “ring depression structures”. These types of structures are particularly well defined in images taken from space: they look like light-colored rings and circles, located in exit points of hydrogen streams and jets. They are particularly prominent in the chernozem region. We performed manual drilling in order to establish the reason for this color change. We discovered that hydrogen degasification destroys the organic humus (the most valuable component of chernozem). The soil’s color fades to grey and even light-grey. Obviously this is accompanied by the reduction in the soil’s productivity. Additionally, we got the impression that hydrogen has a destructive effect on the living flora directly. Trees and undergrowth die in areas where hydrogen streams are exiting the ground; in places even the grass stops growing. But we will leave the investigation of this problem to the appropriate specialists – biologists.

Now we would like to follow the proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and show a series of pictures that illustrate the scale of hydrogen degasification and the variety of structures associated with it. When we explain the pictures, we use the term “hydrogen bleaching”. As mentioned above, this is due to the destruction of humus in the chernozem. Humus is composed of long, complex organic structures (molecules). Their length is determined by chemical bonds between carbon atoms. But when these molecules encounter a hydrogen stream, hydrogen atoms incorporate themselves between the carbon atoms, causing the long molecules to break down. The smaller molecules turn out to be volatile gases and evaporate. Additionally, we found white sand under the soil layer in areas of hydrogen stream exits. The sands are white because of the appearance of white clay (kaolin). This is the result of the impact of hydrogen on the grains of feldspar - they get coated with a thin white film.
Picture 5. A forest (on the left) and a chernozem field in the north-eastern suburb of Lipetsk.

The arrows point to the ring-shaped structures. The rings are 100 to 250 meters in diameter. The depression of soil in the rings is no more then 4-5 meters. In these structures there is no sign of a “clay crust” on the bottom. That is surprising, because just a few torrential rains is all that’s needed in order to wash away the dust from the rims and for the muddy water to accumulate at the bottom of the ring. When the water evaporates, you would expect to see a clay crust. Since there is no such crust, but the soil depression is present (and there is no drainage from the structure), we must conclude that the depression of soil in this spot took place very recently (“recently” on the scale of human, real time).

Picture 6. We are looking south. Right in front of us is a ring structure (the top structure from picture 5). A “dark pole” on the field (a little bit to the right of the center) – is V. Larin; height – 175 cm. The next ring structure can be distinguished behind the pole (to the right and further). If one didn’t know how this area looks from space, one would never guess that active geological processes are taking place here; ring depression structures form “right in front of one’s eyes”, caused by hydrogen degasification from the depths of the planet.

Picture 7. An example of a large ring structure in the early stage of its formation. The ring diameter is 2 km. (Northwest Volgograd region).

Picture 8. The next stage of ring structure formation: the diameter of this one is 2.5 km. Soil depression in the center is particularly prominent here. As a result, a “swamp ulcer” has formed on the chernozem valley. (East Voronezh region).

Picture 9.
Further development of a ring structure. A swamp has spread over almost all of the ring structure. Meanwhile hydrogen continues to seep through beyond the borders of the initial ring (which is still visible), and it started “bleaching” the surroundings. (East Voronezh region).

Picture 10. Here we look at an angle of 45o to the surface of the Earth. The size of the larger ring is 840х600m; the diameter of the smaller one is 300m. On this picture we can see well how hydrogen destroys forest plantations. The trees in this area have died just recently. The red arrow points to a spot where young trees of the plantation have been growing “carelessly” for a few years, until a “hydrogen beast” came and destroyed them. This obviously points to the expansion of hydrogen degasification; today it takes over newer and newer territories.

Picture 11. Moscow region; 1.5 km south-east of the town of Electrostal. A young ring depression structure among the forest mass (measures 220х170m). Brown hues in the center are a swamp; the “gray felt” is fallen trees; green rim – alder forest; the “dark crescent”-shaped bottom - the shade of the surrounding trees.

Picture 12. A mature ring depression structure in the Moscow region. (22 km north-north-west of the intersection of MKAD and Leningrad Highway). This was an old, predominantly spruce forest that has gotten destroyed; the structure got depressed and swampy, and taken over by pines. The pines’ age, at first glance is no more then 15-17 years. However we did some cutting down, counted the rings and were surprised – these trees are 65-70 years old. Imagine a 70 year old tree with a thickness of 10 cm at the bottom.
Depression structures, like the one on Picture 12, are wide-spread in the northern part of the Moscow region. There are even more places where they are about to appear. Thus we were curious to check - do those entities really originate from the depths of the planet? Maybe those are just ordinary swamps in which organic matter is decomposing thus causing the emission of hydrogen? This was a version that our inner skeptics whispered to us periodically; the ones that love to come out during times of forced boredom due to bad weather. In order to calm those pesky types, we called upon a talented geophysicist Andrei Gorbatikov who has developed a unique method for “microseismic sensing”, to collaborate with us. A latitudinal profile 1.5 km long (16 stations every 100 meters) revealed a vertical zone underneath the depression structure (a “pipe”, 350 meters in diameter), which goes down for more then 6 kilometers (see picture 13). Inside this “pipe”, a sharp uptake of microseismic waves takes place and the speed of sound passage is reduced. Conclusion: most likely, this area is riddled with pores and caverns, which are filled with liquid and gas.

Numerous hydrogen concentration measurements in this area revealed a massive anomaly, which goes beyond our profile. At the center of this anomaly (where the depression structure is located), hydrogen concentrations exceed 1.6%; on the periphery the concentrations drop (sporadically) to about 0.5%, which is also rather large.

Picture 13. The results of “microseismic sensing” and hydrogenometrics (in subsoil air) through the latitudinal profile of the ring depression structure on picture 12. On this plan, the pipe-like zone overlaps the ring structure precisely. The color scale reflects the varying degrees of microseismic waves absorption in decibels (the brighter the color – the fuller the absorption).
Inside this depression structure the surface is flat; there is no tree debris (like on the rims), and it is dry – one can walk without rain boots. Among the soft moss, ledum plants, lingonberries and blueberries are growing. It is an attractive scenery. But if you find a field without trees and jump on it, you can see clearly how waves spread away from you across the surface. You get a feeling like you are jumping on a “soft blanket” and underneath you is some kind of “liquefied mass”. My young colleagues (Andrei and Larin Junior) also noticed this and what they came up with! One of them will jump, while the other will catch the “echo” coming from underground. They decided – Larin will jump (he is a geologist and an athlete), while Andrei, since he is the geophysicist, will be the “echo-catcher”. They played this game, and in the evening, at the end of the day of hard work, they were assuring me (Larin Senior) that the echo comes back after a quarter of a second. This means that underneath this “soft blanket” there is a pit filled with some “liquefied mass”, and this pit is about 180 meters deep. It is amazing how creative a person can be when he comes across something unusual, but has limited resources. Later on, we still measured the time it takes the reflected wave to come back using super modern apparatus, and the time turned out to be just 0.05 seconds less – meaning that the pit is about 150 meters deep.
We used a special sensor to puncture the “blanket” and without much effort lowered the sensor 7 meters down into the “mass”. Then we pulled it out (this time forcefully), examined it closely, and didn’t find any signs of mineral soil (clay or sand). But a pleasant smell spread around, which we dubbed - “natural freshness”. What an odd swamp. However we wouldn’t want to be among construction workers, pulling a road across this structure, or among a tank crew that decided to pass on a level field through the woodlands.

While we were working on this structure, we listened to lots of complaints of the locals whose houses are located in close proximity to the depression structure (see picture 12). Mostly they complained about the “at times unbearable” hydrogen sulfide smell and about “dead bald spots” in their gardens on which absolutely nothing grows. Knowing the reason for those troubles we felt for them, but refrained from telling them that it will only get worse.

Two years ago our old friend and colleague S.M. Beskin (doctor of geology and mineralogy) showed us a rather unusual phenomenon in south Moscow region: many fields were densely covered with miniature “mud volcanoes”.

Picture 14. On the right– a dissected “mud volcano”; height – 0.5 meters. Cavities from “gas bubbles” take up 40-50% of the volume; the bubble walls are for some reason amazingly smooth and dense.
Our measurements show that this phenomenon appears in areas of hydrogen degasification. At first we thought that the reason for this is some characteristic of the local soil, which prevents the free exit of hydrogen and makes it accumulate in the form of bubbles. But in the spring of 2008 this phenomenon spread widely across the entire Moscow region.

Picture 15. Moscow region, Dmitrov district, April 2008. By spring, the field south of the village “Svistukha”, was covered with the boils of “mud volcanoes”. This has not been seen previously. V. Larin is standing in the middle and he is not at all pleased with what he is seeing.
In late April 2008 we reported the new data on Earth degasification, and demonstrated pictures of “mud volcanoes” at the Russian National Convention on Earth Degasification in Moscow. It turned out that many attendees of the convention saw the same thing on their way to the capital in other European parts of Russia; they saw it and were surprised because they could not recall seeing this phenomenon in previous years. Thus it is evident that hydrogen degasification can now be observed by anybody willing to do so, which points to the obvious expansion of the process. We - the authors are not pleased, because knowing the reason and having observed the dynamics of the process, we can imagine very well the rapid negative consequences.

Picture 16. circles, rings and hydrogen bleaching in the northwest part of Volgograd region. The area of such zones, affected by hydrogen bleaching, is measured in hundreds of square kilometers. This shows the scale of the phenomenon.
So When Did Hydrogen Degasification Begin on the Russian Platform?
This can be determined based on the age of the craters and the ring structures, which are genetically related to hydrogen degasification. Among them, there are very young ones - their formation happened and is happening right in front of the eyes of the observers. But there are old ones – “prehistoric”. People did not see and do not remember their formation (i.e. they are over a thousand years old). From the geological point of view, their age is also modern because they were formed after the last glaciation and after the formation of the modern relief and its soil cover; meaning that their age does not exceed several thousand years. The facts seem to indicate a sharp increase in degasification over the past 100 years.

In connection with this, we should perhaps pay attention to the “Noctilucent Clouds”. They are made of crystals of water ice and are located at the altitude of 75-90 km (in the mesopause zone). Experts on atmosphere cannot explain – how does water vapor reach that zone? The temperature there reaches minus 100oC and all the water freezes out at much lower altitudes. But if hydrogen dissipation from Earth into space is taking place, it can reach the mesopause zone. That area is above the ozone layer; it has lots of sun radiation, it has oxygen – everything that is needed for water formation. The intriguing part here is that before summer of 1885 there were no Noctilucent clouds. However, in June 1885 tens of observers from different countries noticed them. Since then they have become an ordinary (regular) event. But can we count this surprising fact as evidence in favor of hydrogen degasification?

In fact, according to the concept within which we work, the entire development of our Earth is due to degasification of hydrogen, rising up from the nucleus of the planet. And this degasification comes in cycles. We need to perform hydrogen measurements (with our “Know How”) on other ancient platforms. And if hydrogen degasification is found there as well, it will mean that we have entered a new cycle of degasification of the planet. And then we will be able to tell what kinds of events we should expect in the near geological future. If, however, this phenomenon is unique to the Russian platform, the anticipated geological consequences will be entirely different (and, unfortunately, rather unpleasant).

Let’s Talk About the “Pluses”
Firstly, we have reasons to believe that “areal manifestations of hydrogen” feed from deeply situated, vertical, pipe-like zones – a kind of “hydrogen plumbing” (see picture 17). And it is likely that hydrogen can be harvested from these zones through boreholes, just like the usual natural gas. One must agree that this is a wonderful solution to many problems. We will be able to get hydrogen – an energy carrier with unique characteristics; and it will not have to be driven in pipes from far away because it flows right here, underneath our feet, literally. And if we learn how to intercept hydrogen streams deep underground (from the “hydrogen plumbing”), we will be able to significantly reduce the negative effects of hydrogen degasification on the top soil – on chernozem, on the plants and the Russian landscapes that are dear to our heart.

When we look into the hydrogen future, we see the European part of Russia covered in boreholes that bring hydrogen to the surface. Near every borehole there are turbo generators that produce electricity, which is distributed throughout the nearby region. Boreholes with a small hydrogen debit are equipped with fuel cells that supply electricity to small towns and factories. Nearby are filling stations for hydrogen cars and other transport with engines based on fuel cells. There is no more need for long pipelines and high voltage transmission lines that are vulnerable to natural disasters and terrorist atacks. At the same time energy security is sharply increased, while environmental conditions are improved immeasurably.

Of course, this is a fantasy, but not science fiction, because there is no need to invent anything radically new in order to realize this. Everything is already available; all you need are streams of ready hydrogen. The streams are also already available; all you need is to learn how to bring them up to the surface. And that is not that hard of a problem. Today, we know where and how to look for this “hydrogen plumbing”.
Picture 17. Our understanding of the character of hydrogen degasification in the lithosphere. “Hydrogen plumbing” is shown in the upper portions of the crust (dark blue). On the insert (right), a borehole “opens” the upper part of a “hydrogen plumbing”.
A skeptic’s question: “how do you know that the concentrations will be industrial?”
Answer – of course we don’t know, so far we only theorize, but we have some solid arguments for it. Firstly, hydrogen is a rather chemically active element, and if it reaches the surface, there must be more of it underground, because en route it gets used up for water formation and other chemical reactions. Secondly, the Sasovo voluminous thermobaric explosion probably cannot be explained without the explosion of an explosive gas cloud. This cloud formed as a result of the mixing of the endogenous hydrogen stream with atmospheric oxygen. Hydrogen only explodes if its volume exceeds 4% of the total volume of the mixture. Thus, the concentration in the hydrogen stream was (at least) several times higher. But, we can work with such concentrations.

Secondly, hydrogen is the main component (based on the number of atoms) of oil and natural gas. And in this regard, the problem of the origins of hydrocarbons is reduced to the problem of hydrogen source. There is more then enough free carbon in the Earth’s crust. And if hydrogen streams are passing through it, hydrocarbons must be generated. Simultaneously, a system of pores and caverns is forming not only in limestone, but also in silicate rocks – in granite and granite-gneisses. These pores and caverns are filled with the newly formed oil and thus rich deposits are created. We believe that the upper kilometers of the most “mature” hydrogen plumbing, may carry some uniquely large stocks of oil.

Thirdly, in our understanding, oil and gas form only when hydrogen degasification is taking place from within the deep zones of the planet. And if hydrogen degasification is taking place right now, then oil and gas are also being generated today and will continue to be generated tomorrow (we are referring to the time scale relevant to human civilization). Thus, the hydrocarbon fuel sources that we are using, most likely continue to be replenished today. It is often the case that an oil deposit is discovered, exploited, the estimated amount is completely used up, but oil continues to flow. In this regard, boreholes that had been exploited should be sealed off, in the hope that they will recover in the near future. I (Larin Senior) published this projection in 1992, but I didn’t have much hope to live long enough to see its confirmation on facts. However, in recent years some sensational reports began to appear about old, exploited deposits filling up again.

Thus, the experts’ understanding on the complete exhaustion of oil and gas resources (ostensibly non-renewable) by the 40’s of this century appear to be like “scary stories for kids”. In light of the hydrogen degasification of Earth that we discovered, these resources are not only renewable but there is also a lot more of them then is believed to be; so energy hunger is not a threat in our nearest future.

Some countries, scared off by the prediction of an imminent exhaustion of hydrocarbon resources, store and don’t exploit their oil fields, believing that that is the wise thing to do. However, we can revise this policy based on the hydrogen degasification that we discovered in the tectonically quiet regions and the fact of replenishing of exploited oil reserves. In all likelihood, it would be prudent to put these reserves at least in a «soft» mode of exploitation, in order to see what happens.

- First. Let us review the reasons and the mechanism of the Sasovo explosion: it occurred as a result of a hydrogen stream bursting to the surface; it mixed with the atmospheric oxygen, a cloud of “explosive gas” formed, and as a result a thermobaric explosion happened, equal in magnitude to an explosion of 30-50 tons of TNT. Two years ago we thought that this was a rare occurrence (exceptional and unlikely). But now, when we see the extent of hydrogen degasification, when our instruments, more and more, show readings off the scale, thus indicating that hydrogen concentration at the depth of just one meter is measured in percents (an “explosive gas” – is 4% and higher) – now we have a completely different estimation on the likelihood of events of this kind. Now we have to admit that thermobaric explosions, like the Sasovo one, may become an ordinary event in the near future. Moreover, these future explosions may be much more powerful - tens and hundreds of times more powerful, which is comparable with tactical nuclear weapons. Now imagine, what would happen if such an explosion happened in a densely populated region, or above a mega polis?
- Second. Today, in many places, the measured hydrogen concentration reaches 1.5-1.7%. However, when we take a sample of the subsoil gas, we cannot discount the mixing in of the atmospheric air, which is practically devoid of hydrogen. When we take this dilution into account, the real hydrogen concentration in the subsoil air could be reaching 2.5-3%. Technologists are very familiar with a phenomenon of catastrophically brittle metals, which occurs when metals are exposed to such a gaseous mixture for prolonged periods of time (months). As a result, underground metal structures and communications can become so fragile that they will crumble from their own weight of their engineering facilities, or at the movement of the soil, even a very minor one. So far, during the design and construction of facilities, the destruction of which could have catastrophic consequences, the possibility of hydrogen embrittlement of metals is not taken into account. However, hydrogen degasification has been detected, it tends to increase (in terms of areas affected), and this factor must be taken into account.

- Third. According to the Moscow geo-ecologists (who do not yet have the data about the hydrogen streams), 15% of the city territory is located in zones that are at risk for karst failures; collapses in these areas can occur at any time. Specialists know about it, they talk and warn, but they have not been particularly active in forcing the authorities to take appropriate measures. Apparently, a calming factor here is the prevailing view that karst cavities “take their time” in forming. But in our scenario, when hydrogen is “at work” (and it can “work” quickly), this threat must be taken with high priorit.

If we could have our way, we would halt the construction of multistory buildings right now (even before clarifying the situation deep underneath the mega polis). They have too big of an impact on the underlying horizons. And if there are hydrogen streams in the city limits (and there are), able to produce water (“warm” and chemically aggressive water), this water, first of all, will erode the rock in tension, i.e. it will erode the rock underneath the foundations of skyscrapers. And there is no need to blame the high-rise buildings from the Stalin era, which have been standing for half a century. First, they were built differently; and second – hydrogen degasification has likely been gaining momentum over time. And now the mass media are full of reports about ground collapses in Moscow. It seems that this hasn’t been the case before.


Dear readers – regrettably, all what was said above is not a leisurely fiction; regrettably, all what was said – is the reality, it is all based on real facts. Delaying the initiation of extensive studies of the problem may be a “death sentence”, in a literal sense. However, if we hurry, we can still turn hydrogen degasification to our favor; we can save what can be saved, and we can save ourselves from the coming scourge.

P.S. When first acquainted with our data, many people ask – “Why such a large scale phenomenon is only now being discovered? Was it not happening 25-30 years ago?”
Of course it was happening; 30 years ago degasification was happening, albeit maybe not as intensively as it is now. The ring depression structures were in existence too, but there were fewer of them; as there was less “hydrogen bleaching” of chernozem soils. But, the reason is not lack of evidence, it is something different. Within the prevailing perceptions (of the composition and structure of the planet) there should not be hydrogen degasification on the ancient platform. And who is going to look for something which (it terms of the widely accepted “common sense”) – cannot be in principle in the first place? That’s why nobody looked. But we (the authors of this text) have been working for a long time within a new global geological concept, according to which there must be degasification of deep source hydrogen. As soon as hydrogen analyzers suitable for field work became available, we purchased them and went to look for hydrogen streams on the Russian plains. We found them right away, but we must admit – at first we did not even suspect, what would be the real extent of this phenomenon.

Translation from Russian by:
Olga Trubina

1 comment:

Brendan said...

With no disrespect, I hope that such phenomena can be discovered elsewhere across the earth's surface. I seriously doubt whether the world is ready to trust to Russia's will to continue an unabated supply of Hydrogen dependency from its lands, and the growing economic controls that it would have over its dependents. On this point it will always be politics, human greed and mistrust that holds back progress, substantially in preference to saving the planet.

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I started my career in 1979 as an IBM/370 system engineer. In 1986 I got my PhD. in Robotics at St. Petersburg Technical University (Russia) and then worked as a professor teaching there CAD/CAM, Robotics and Computer Science for about 12 years. I published 30 papers and made several presentations for international conferences related to the Robotics, Artificial Intelligent and Computer fields. In 1999 I moved to the US and worked at Capital One bank in Richmond as a Capacity Planner. My first CMG paper was written and presented in 2001. The next one, "Global and Application Level Exception Detection System Based on MASF Technique," won a Best Paper award at CMG 2002 and was presented again at UKCMG 2003 in Oxford, England. My CMG 2004 paper about applying MASF technique to mainframe performance data was republished in the IBM z/Series Expo. I also presented my papers in Central Europe CMG conference and in numerous US regional meetings. I continue to enhance my exception detection methodologies. After working more than 2 years as the Capacity Management team lead for IBM, I had worked for SunTrust Bank for 3 years and then got back to IBM holding for 2+ years  Sr. IT Architect position. Currently I work for Capital One bank as IT Manager for IT Capacity Management group. In 2015 I have been elected to the CMG ( board of directors,

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