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A detailed 3D petroleum system model was constructed for the Schleswig-Holstein area in northern Germany. Salt movement and the Quaternary ice episodes were implemented in order to reconstruct their impact on temperature, maturity and pressure. Burial, temperature and maturity histories were calculated for the Jurassic troughs and the Glueckstadt Graben showing both differences and similarities. For example, all locations reached (almost) deepest burial at present day, whilst subsidence and long-term sedimentation rate was highest in Glueckstadt Graben during the Triassic. The Jurassic troughs received their major subsidence and sedimentation pulse later, and were strongly affected by a later salt movement.

The implementation of Quaternary glacial episodes does not have a strong impact on petroleum generation from the major source rock (Lower Toarcian Posidonia Shale). In the case of the Posidonia Shale reaching the stage of petroleum expulsion (outside of the study area), the effect of ‘glacial pumping’(i.e. the development of high pore pressures during glaciation followed by expulsion and subsequent pressure release during deglaciation) can be deduced from the model. Petroleum accumulations in the reservoir layers (Dogger sandstones) are also seen to have been affected. This finding is of interest for exploration, as it might control petroleum composition, biodegradation and leakage through cap rocks.

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