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Oil formation: deep sea formation of hydrocarbons

The University of Waikato, Science Learning Hub

This animation summarizes how oil and gas form in sedimentary ocean basins. The process starts with dead plankton (organic plant and animal material) being deposited together with mud, sand and other sediments. It describes the process of sapropel, kerogen and hydrocarbon formation.

Animation length: 3:17 minutes.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs. The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d

Energy Literacy

Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
Other materials addressing:
4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
Other materials addressing:
Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • This animation could be used in a unit on energy and/or the carbon cycle.

About the Science

  • Animation illustrates the formation of oil and gas from ocean detritus and sediment in the sedimentary layers that form at the ocean bottom.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • There are links to multiple supportive resources for teachers at this website, including an oil formation misconception quiz and a short video. The scientific vocabulary is well-defined. A transcript of the animation is also provided. Teachers can register at the home url http://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/ to gain access to ideas on how to teach the content.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • There is no sound - all of the information is text-based, accompanied by basic animated graphics

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