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Abstract

Hydrocarbons occur within sediments in basins within the uppermost crust. Localization is affected by regional temperature and pressure gradients as well as anomalies in sediment distribution; porosity and permeability; and breakages (faults, joints and fractures) in both soft and hard materials. In our search for these hydrocarbons, we map and record geophysical and geochemical anomalies, generally caused by sediment and crustal tectonics. Many of these in turn appear influenced and guided by lower crust-upper mantle interactions that include, among others, buoyant mantle plumes and lateral plate tectonics. In order to better understand how such a total geologic system operates, it is necessary to think of this entire sediment - basin - crust - upper mantle complex as a single unit. We must seek new and pertinent explanations for hydrocarbon occurrences including these mantle and crust influences as we extend our exploration models into new frontiers.

In summary, the cumulative actions of the entire geologic system including upper mantle to upper crust create forces and dynamics capable of modifying overlying basins and hydrocarbon-bearing sediments recording these underlying forces. We suggest that the whole petroleum system concept needs examination in light of upper mantle and crust dynamics.

With mantle plumes causing the Late Triassic North Atlantic Rifting, the evolutionary scenario here is appropriate explanation for continental rifting followed by basin initiation and subsequent deepening and in-filling and locating hydrocarbons. Plume and crust interactions and derivatives are a constant input impacting hydrocarbon formation.

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