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Name: Bob W Whitebeck
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How much oil reserves are left in the United States?
How is this determined?

I do not know the answer to your first question but I believe the Department of Commerce or the American Petroleum Institute could help you there. The volume is guessed at by a combination of looking for geographical formations where oil might be trapped underground or under the sea-floor, and then making test surveys with geophones - acoustical instruments that pick up the sound and shock waves that are produced by detonating an explosive at a known distance. By timing the sound waves travel you can guess at what kind of material it passed through. Computers can be used to make three dimensional "tomographic" maps from this kind of data, which gives engineers a clue as to what is down there. I have heard it said recently that there is probably much more than anyone thought 10 years ago, but I am not sure about the source of that report. Maybe the US Geological Survey would know.


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