Methane Myopia: 4 – Pobiti Kamani

Methane Myopia - Pobiti Kamani

Pobiti Kamani is one of the many natural wonders of the world.

It’s also an embarrassing natural wonder that most geologists prefer not to talk about.

It is so embarrassing that it’s necessary to describe the spectacular Pobiti Kamani formations as “sand-columns” in your Master of Philosophy thesis.

Pobiti Kamani”: Dikilitash Formation (Lower Eocene) Nummulitic sand-columns near Beloslav, NE Bulgaria

Sedimentological Evolution of the Emine & Kamchia Basins, Eastern Bulgaria
H L Suttill – University of Edinburgh – 2009

Pobitite Kamani - 2006

Pobiti Kamani is a classic example of how mainstream geology attempts to bury embarrassing evidence via avoidance, obscuration and misdirection.

The sustained mainstream disinformation campaign has been very successful.

Searching the internet reveals the inventive history of appellations that have been applied to the Pobiti Kamani formations:

Algal bio constructed build-ups
Bubbling Reefs [Wikipedia]
Coral activity [Wikipedia]
Coral complexes
Limestone pillars
Lithified forest
Petrified trees
Prehistoric coral reefs
Prismatic weathering of the rocks [Wikipedia]
Remains of primeval organisms
Sand and limestone concretions [Wikipedia]
Sandstone pillars
Stone Forest
Stone Wood

Internet references to the dreaded four letter T word are few and far between.

Wikipedia carefully avoids using the dreaded four letter T word.

Wikipedia knows that first impressions count.

Wikipedia describes the formations as “stone columns” and “columns”.

In a classic piece of misdirection, Wikipedia refers to the “foundations” of the “columns” before quietly slipping in the word “hollow”.

Pobiti Kamani (Bulgarian: Побити камъни) is a rock phenomenon located in Varna Province, Bulgaria, on the road between Varna and Sofia around several villages just west of Varna.

It consists of several groups of natural rock formations on a total area of 7 km².

The formations are mainly stone columns between 5 and 7 metres high and from 0.3 to 3 metres thick.

The columns do not have solid foundations, but are instead hollow and filled with sand, and look like they are stuck into the surrounding sands, which gives the phenomenon its name.

Pobitite Kamani - Methane seepage tubes

Vocabulary and phrasing are very important tools in mainstream geology.

For example:

The Bulgarian Geological Society published a paper about the “tubular concretions (so-called columns)” at Pobiti Kamani in 2008.

Pobitite Kamani - Bulgarian Geological Society 2008


In the Pobiti Kamani area, up to 10 m high and meter-diameter tubular concretions (so-called columns) are exposed within Lower Eocene sands and sandstones (Dikili Tash Formation) about 20 km west of Varna (NE Bulgaria).

These calcite-cemented sandstone concretions have been a subject of many geological studies addressing their formation.

In the present contribution a short review is presented as result of a recent (and still ongoing) study about the origin of these structures in relation to past methane seepage.

The systematic mapping of the morphology and 2D-spatial distribution of the tubular concretions indicated that:

a) the Paleogene structural framework likely played an important role in directing
fluid movement to the paleo-seafloor and

b) the morphology of different types of tubular concretions was controlled by the
subvertical path of ascending gas-bearing fluids through the unconsolidated host sediments as well as by the characteristics of the host lithology and lateral differences in seepage conditions.

Based on a detailed petrographical, geochemical and lipid biomarker study, it was furthermore shown that interparticular low-magnesian calcite cementation of the unconsolidated host sediments around the rising methane-bearing fluid plume, occurred at shallow depth below the seafloor and was triggered by the microbial mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane.

In 2011 the journal Geofluids published an extended article about the chimney-like concretions at Pobiti Kamani that was written by the very same [four] authors.

Evidently, “chimney-like” [which prompts a mental association with smoke and fire] was the preferred phase for the Abstract in 2011 [although it didn’t appear anywhere in the 2008 paper].

This is strange because the body of the document contains 27 references to “tubular” [with a gratuitous “tube” and a liberal “tubes” thrown in for good luck] and only 3 references to “chimney-like” [two of which appeared adjacent to “tubular”].

The 2011 Abstract gives the impression that a special vocabulary [and writing style] has been employed so that the dreaded four letter Tword [plus it derivatives] are carefully avoided.

Pobitite Kamani - Geofluids 2011


Faults are often important in fuelling methane seep systems; however, little is known on how different components in fault zones control subsurface fluid circulation paths and how they evolve through time.

This study provides insight into fault-related fluid flow systems that operated in the shallow subsurface of an ancient methane seep system.

The Pobiti Kamani area (NE Bulgaria) encloses a well-exposed, fault-related seep system in unconsolidated Lower Eocene sandy deposits of the Dikilitash Formation.

The Beloslav quarry and Beloslav N faults displace the Dikilitash Formation and are typified by broad, up to 80 m wide, preferentially lithified hanging wall damage zones, crosscut by deformation bands and deformation band zones, smaller slip planes and fault-related joints.

The formation of a shallow plumbing system and chimney-like concretions in the Dikilitash Formation was followed by at least two phases of fault-related methane fluid migration.

Widespread fluid circulation through the Dikilitash sands caused massive cementation of the entire damage zones in the fault hanging walls.

During this phase, paths of ascending methane fluids were locally obstructed by decimetre-thick, continuous deformation band zones that developed in the partly lithified sands upon the onset of deformation.

Once the entire damage zone was pervasively cemented, deformation proceeded through the formation of slip planes and joints.

This created a new network of more localized conduits in close vicinity to the main fault plane and around through-going slip planes.

13C-depleted crustiform calcite cements in several joints record the last phase of focused methane fluid ascent.

Their formation predated Neogene uplift and later meteoric water infiltration along the joint network.

This illustrates how fault-related fluid pathways evolved, over time, from ‘plumes’ in unconsolidated sediments above damage zones, leading to chimney fields, over widespread fluid paths, deflected by early deformation structures, to localized paths along fracture networks near the main fault.

The choice of words in the Abstract is very important because the internet search engines can only index freely available content i.e. not hidden behind a paywall.

Academic literature uses the abstract to succinctly communicate complex research.

An abstract may act as a stand-alone entity instead of a full paper.

As such, an abstract is used by many organizations as the basis for selecting research that is proposed for presentation in the form of a poster, platform/oral presentation or workshop presentation at an academic conference.

Most literature database search engines index only abstracts rather than providing the entire text of the paper.

A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content without a paid subscription.

Wikipedia also knows second impressions reinforce first impressions

Therefore, Wikipedia is still playing games with Pobiti Kamani in 2013 [five years after research confirmed the tubular concretions formed around a “rising methane-bearing fluid plume”].

Regarding origins Wikipedia leads with a mix of misdirecting mythology.

There are a number of theories regarding the phenomenon’s origin, divided roughly into two groups – supporting an organic or a mineral origin.

According to the former, the formations are the result of coral activity, while the latter explain the phenomenon with the prismatic weathering of the rocks, the formation of sand and limestone concretions, or lower Eocene bubbling reefs.

Wikipedia then successfully obscures the 2008 findings by replacing the word “methane” with “paleo-hydrocarbon” and attempts a burial because it’s “presently under study by researchers”.

Based on field observations and a petrographic and stable isotope geochemical study, evidence now exists that these structures represent an exceptionally well exposed paleo-hydrocarbon seep system (strongly depleted carbon isotope signatures of the dominant low magnesium calcite cement).

The dynamic reconstruction of the origin of these structures, the processes of fluid migration and possible microbial interference in the process of carbonate precipitation are presently under study by researchers from the Catholic University of Leuven, in collaboration with researchers from the Institute of Oceanology, RCMG, the Geobiology Lab of the University of Goettingen and the University of Bologna.

However, the really important message [from the 2008 paper] is that the research has confirmed the tubular concretions at Pobiti Kamani formed “at shallow depth below the seafloor” around a “rising methane-bearing fluid plume”.

Based on a detailed petrographical, geochemical and lipid biomarker study, it was furthermore shown that interparticular low-magnesian calcite cementation of the unconsolidated host sediments around the rising methane-bearing fluid plume, occurred at shallow depth below the seafloor and was triggered by the microbial mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane.

Unfortunately, most researchers simply avoid the geological evidence [that is gloriously on display at Pobiti Kamani] while they cling to their monotheism that methane is only produced by microbes on Earth.

A researcher sits on the surface of an Arctic lake

A researcher sits on the surface of an Arctic lake. In front of his feet, he has lit a plume of escaping methane, a flammable gas, released when organic material thaws and decays under the lake. (Courtesy K. W. Anthony)

Leaking Lakes – Jane Beitler – 12 November 2012
Earth Observing System Data and Information System

To be continued…

Related posts.

Going Down The Tubes

Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Earth, Geology, Science, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Methane Myopia: 4 – Pobiti Kamani

  1. fortuneteller says:

    Another great post

  2. A C Osborn says:

    I wonder how much methane it takes for the microbes to build something like that, I would suggest that it was quite a large quantity over a long period.
    I did like the estimates of dinosaur methane in the previous post, I wonder what the output for the American Bison and African wild animals were like during the 1800s.

  3. Brian H says:

    Biogenesis is looking more and more implausible.
    CH4 is so simple it has always seemed a far stretch to require specialized microbes to assemble it.
    Tube B, or not Tube B?

  4. Pingback: The English Inkblot Test | MalagaBay

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