The thermal maturity of samples of the Posidonia Shale collected from the Hils Syncline, northern Germany, varies significantly as a function of location indicating variations in local history. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction was used to document the composition and the preferred orientation of four samples of the Posidonia Shale with different degrees of maturity (0.68–1.45%, Ro) to determine possible effects on diagenesis and preferred orientation. Overall, the degree of preferred orientation of all clay minerals (illite-smectite, illite-mica, and kaolinite) and in all samples is similar, with (001) pole figure maxima ranging from 3.7 to 6.3 multiples of a random distribution (m.r.d.). Calcite displays weak preferred orientation, with c axes perpendicular to the bedding plane (1.1–1.3 m.r.d.). Other constituent phases such as quartz, feldspars, and pyrite have a random orientation distribution. The difference in thermal history, which causes significant changes in the maturity of organic matter, influenced the preferred orientation of clay minerals only marginally as most of the alignment seems to have evolved early in their history. Synchrotron X-ray microtomography was used to characterize the three-dimensional microstructure of a high-maturity sample. Low-density features, including porosity, fractures, and kerogen, were observed to be elongated and aligned roughly parallel to the bedding plane. The volume of low-density features was estimated to be ~7 vol.%, consistent with previous petrophysical measurements of porosity of 8–10 vol.%. Transmission electron microscopy analysis of samples with different degrees of maturity (0.74%Ro and 1.45%Ro) was used to document microstructures at the nanoscale as well as the presence of kerogen. In the high-maturity sample, pores were less abundant while minerals were more deformed as shown by fractured calcite and by kinked and folded illite. Some of the porosity was aligned with clay platelets.

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