For many years, geologists have debated the question, “Where and when is petroleum formed?” It has been rather generally accepted that organic matter deposited in marine or brackish-water sediments served as the source material for eventual petroleum formation. Conceptions of the process from this point are many and varied. The most prevalent viewpoint, perhaps, has required burial of the original “complex organic matter” by several thousands of feet of overburden and the elapsing of several million years before conversion into hydrocarbons could take place.3 More recently, a school of thought has developed which believes that oil formation begins soon...

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