Landscape N.3 – Black Gold

The word petroleum comes from Ancient Greek: petra, which means rock and Latin oleum, which means oil.

Black Gold is the third of a series of Landscapes that explore the notion of landscape in relation to the Western conception of nature and natural. How these geopolitical concepts, are found on the periphery of what we consider, as artificial structures or designed by the Human. How are these concepts simulated, to arrive at an aesthetic vision of the landscape and the territory?
In this particular chapter I’ve worked with the notion of geologic time scale (GTS), a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata (stratigraphy) to time. It is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth's history. In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil, or igneous rock that were formed at the Earth's surface, The ‘stratum’ is the fundamental unit in a stratigraphic column and forms the basis of the study of stratigraphy.

Petroleum geologists look at the structural and sedimentary aspects of the stratum/strata to identify possible oil traps. Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellow-to-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum has mostly been recovered by oil drilling. Drilling is carried out after studies of structural geology. It is refined and separated, into a large number of consumer products, from gasoline and kerosene to asphalt and chemical reagents used to make plastics and pharmaceuticals.

Concern over the depletion of the Earth's finite reserves of oil, and the effect this would have on a society dependent on it, is a concept known as peak oil. The article, “Acknowledging the Anthropocene’ of the landscape architect Martin Prominski, gives us in insight on how the use of the term anthropocene to refer to the current geological era can’t be denied. It is a fact that human activities have an impact on the entire planet. The use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum, has a negative impact on Earth's biosphere, damaging ecosystems through events such as oil spills and releasing a range of pollutants into the air including ground-level ozone and sulfur dioxide from sulfur impurities in fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels plays a major role in the current episode of global warming. Recognizing the ineluctable nature of the presence of humanity on the planet is irreconcilable with the Western concept of ‘nature’, as an identity that exists outside any human influence. Nature, as the dominant idea of Western culture, becomes a simplistic abstraction that in other cultures does not exist and has never existed, and is often more revealing of this society than the nonhuman or natural environments it describes.