Natural Gas and the Oracle of Delphi
Most people have heard the term – the Oracle of Delphi. In ancient times Delphi was thought to be the center of the world. To the Greeks it was the place where heaven and earth met. It was the center of worship for the Greek God Apollo who was the son of Zeus.
People would go to the Oracle of Delphi, who was a priestess of the time, to get advice on personal concerns or concerns of the state and to have their questions about the future answered. The Oracle or priestess was thought to dispense advice which came right from God, to have divine or as we think of it today psychic powers.
The temple of the Oracle of Delphi was built on top of Mount Parnassus. The temple was founded when a goat herder came upon a flame rising out of a fissure in a rock. The Greeks thought the flame had a divine origin and built the temple on top of it. The prophecies of the priestess were said to be inspired by the divine nature of the flame. Also, vapors arising out of the fissure were thought to produce intoxication that helped loosen the lips of the oracles.
These myths and prophecies grew around the flame and Delphi is still a favorite tourist attraction in Greece. A recent study of the area below the temple at Delphi show that two faults intersect there and also found evidence that hallucinogenic gases were rising from a spring nearby and were preserved within the rock of the temple. When faults intersect the rock around them are more permeable and water and natural gases can rise out of the rock easier.
The gases in the spring water near the temple were analyzed and it was found that one of the gases was ethylene which has a sweet smell and produces a narcotic effect if inhaled. The Oracle of Delphi was said to go into a trance like state when she would pronounce her prophecies. She would be in a small, enclosed room in the basement of the temple. It’s possible that there was enough ethylene to produce this trance like state.
Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation drill natural gas which then travels through pipelines to a processing plant that extracts the ethylene.Ethylene is a flammable gas extracted from natural gas and petroleum. Ethylene is extracted using fractional distillation followed by steam cracking followed by liquefaction of the gas and then further fractional. Polyethylene is produced from ethylene. Polyethylene is the world’s most widely used plastic.