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Book Chapter

Thermal Alteration

By
John B. Comer
John B. Comer
Indiana Geological Survey Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405
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Published:
January 01, 1992

Abstract

The thermal alteration of organic matter in buried sediments can be understood and modeled using the rate laws and the Arrhenius equation. However, modeling organic reactions at geologic temperatures and heating rates requires accurate activation energies and frequency factors. Although the mechanisms of kerogen degradation are complex and poorly known, appropriate kinetic parameters that fit both laboratory and geologic data can be derived from both open- and closed-system laboratory pyrolysis experiments. Algorithms that treat organic maturation as a set of parallel first-order reactions having a range of activation energies are widely used for nonisothermal data. This relatively simple approach is certainly not an accurate account of organic maturation, but it appears to give reasonable kinetic parameters for extrapolating to geologic conditions. While questions persist about the validity of extrapolating laboratory-derived kinetics to geologic temperatures and heating rates using the Arrhenius law, the problem can only be addressed empirically by testing the fit of the laboratory data with geologic observations.

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Contents

SEPM Short Course Notes

Geochemistry of Organic Matter in Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Lisa M. Pratt
Lisa M. Pratt
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John B. Comer
John B. Comer
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Simon C. Brassell
Simon C. Brassell
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Ruth Droppo
Ruth Droppo
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
27
ISBN electronic:
9781565762503
Publication date:
January 01, 1992

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