At the 1969 annual meeting of the Coal Geology Division of The Geological Society of America, initial plans were made to hold a symposium on the metamorphosis of coaly material. This symposium, entitled “Carbonaceous Materials as Indicators of Metamorphism,” was held at the Milwaukee meetings in 1970. The papers contained in this volume were presented at that time.
In the late 1960s, many scientists, both in and out of industry, became interested in the increases in rank exhibited by organic matter, whether finely dispersed in shales and sandstones or present in coal seams. It was suggested that this idea was possibly of great significance in the exploration for oil and gas. The immense importance of coal rank in the manufacture of metallurgical coke has long been recognized, and the steel industry has made great strides not only in understanding but also in predicting coal behavior. Techniques were refined, and some techniques that were developed in this search for better coke are now being applied to other organic matter trapped in sedimentary rocks in an attempt to predict or delimit “gas”–“no gas” zones or “wet and dry” areas in petroleum exploration.
Many scientists thought this was all new—others recognized that we, like “continental drifters,” were really returning to ideas that had been presented many years ago. Over one hundred years ago, Henry Darwin Rogers noted the relation between coal rank and petroleum distribution. David White further defined the carbon ratio theory in 1915 when he stated:
Wherever the regional . . .