Abstract

Nodules of thorium-rich hydrocarbon are recorded in sandstone sequences from several basins. The hydrocarbon nodules contain mineral inclusions, particularly of thorite or monazite. There is evidence both for accretion of hydrocarbons around detrital heavy mineral grains and for epigenetic growth by interaction of hydrocarbons with thorium-bearing fluids. Both mechanisms depend upon the precipitation of solid hydrocarbons induced by irradiation from thorium. The nodules exhibit aggressive replacement of other grains, a characteristic of radioanomalous hydrocarbons. The occurrence of the nodules is dependent upon an appropriate (plutonic) source for the thorium, but given this constraint they are important evidence for hydrocarbon migration pathways.

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