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Book Chapter

Organic Geochemistry in the Deep Sea Drilling Project

By
Keith A. Kvenvolden
Keith A. Kvenvolden
U.S. Geological Survey
Menlo Park, California 90425 U.S.A.
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Published:
January 01, 1981

Abstract

Since the beginning of the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) in 1968 and extending through 1975, organic geochemical studies have been undertaken on about 2300 samples recovered on Legs 1 through 44 from sediments beneath the ocean floors. These studies have provided fundamental information regarding the distribution of carbon in oceanic sediments and have yielded a better understanding of the processes that alter and transform organic matter in the marine environment.

Beginning with Leg 38 organic geochemists have been included as members of the scientific staffs of those legs of particular organic geochemical interest. They have advised operations personnel on matters concerning potential hazards, such as drilling into significant accumulations of oil and gas, and have collected samples for the scientific community. The shipboard organic geochemical laboratory is equipped with sophisticated instrumentation to provide those meassurements helpful in advising the drilling operation

Since Leg 15, samples for organic geochemical studies have been maintained at -18°C at the DSDP sample repository at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California. Samples are distributed to the scientific community, but at least one quarter of all cores is retained for possible future studies.

Organic geochemical studies generally relate to one of these topic areas: (1) petroleum potential/source rock evaluation, (2) thermal history and gradients, (3) diagenesis, (4) gas hydrates, (5) novel geochemical fossils, (6) sources of organic materials, (7) paleo-depositional environments, and (8) geochronology.

Much of the organic geochemical work on hydrocarbons and kerogen has been directed to the potential of sediments as sources of petroleum. The organic matter found thus far during drilling is dominantly of terrestrial origin and thermally immature, but much of the organic matter could be a potential source of petroleum (mainly gas) if buried more deeply.

Three new technologies will help advance organic geochemical knowledge of ocean sediments: (1) pressure core barrel for evaluation of gas hydrates, (2) hydraulic piston core to study in detail sources and early diagenesis of organic matter, and (3) riser for the study of late diagenesis and catagenesis.

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SEPM Special Publication

The Deep Sea Drilling Project: A Decade of Progress

John E. Warme
John E. Warme
Colorado School of Mines, Golden Colorado.
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Robert G. Douglas
Robert G. Douglas
University of Southern California, Los Angeles California
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Edward L. Winterer
Edward L. Winterer
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla California
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
32
ISBN electronic:
9781565761629
Publication date:
January 01, 1981

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