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There is enough untapped hydrocarbon fuel to last Earth thousands of years says quasar astronomer Thomas Gold of Cornell University. He theorizes that these deposits of abiogenic methane are the results of the breakdown of hydrocarbons (trapped in the earth as it formed from solar nebula) under the high temperature and pressure that exists in the earth's interior. The carbon is thereby released in the form of methane gas (CH4), which leaks to the surface continuously, through cracks and fissures in the crust. Gold's methane is not to be confused with the biogenic variety that has been discovered so far (i.e., ‘natural gas’).