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Effects of Hydrothermal Activity on Sedimentary Organic Matter: Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California — Petroleum Genesis and Proto-Kerogen Degradation

  • Bernd R. T. Simoneit
Chapter
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 12)

Abstract

Guaymas Basin is an actively-rifting oceanic basin, consisting of two tectonically active rift valleys, the Northern and Southern Troughs, separated by a transform fault area. The sediment blanket accumulates rapidly, keeping the basin floor covered (geologic age — Quaternary), and the process of ocean plate accretion occurs by dike and sill intrusions into the unconsolidated diatomaceous muds, resulting in localized contact metamorphism of both organic and mineral matter. Also, deep seated magmatic heat flow causes extensive thermal alteration, especially at DSDP Site 477 in the southern rift. This high conductive heat flow results in hydrothermal circulation with concomitant migration of organic pyrolysate.

The interstitial gas, gasoline, bitumen and protokerogen geochemistry of these sediments was examined, as well as how these carbonaceous fractions were affected by the hydrothermal activity. A thermogenic component is admixed with the biogenic interstitial gas (the CH4) at depth in the DSDP sites and CO2 is derived from thermal decomposition of carbonates at those depths.

The bitumen at depth of the DSDP sites contains thermogenic components such as primary olefins, thermodynamically stabilized molecular markers [17α(H)-hopanes], and elemental sulfur, with traces of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The major components are n-alkanes with no carbon number predominance and unresolvable complex branched and cyclic hydrocarbons (hump), which are typical of mature petroleum and were generated by the heat from the intrusives.

Dredge samples recovered from a mound on the southern rift floor have a characteristic petroliferous odor and the bitumen of some frgments was anslyzed. The thermogenic origin of this petroleum was conformed by the presence of gasoline of this petroleum was confirmed by the presence of gasoline range hydrocarbons; a broad distribution of n-alkanes (F13-C33, no carbon number predominance), hump, pristine and phytane; of olefins and PAH; and of large amounts of aromatic/naphthenic and asphaltic material. Similar petroleum was subsequently recovered from other active mounds in the southern rift by the D.S.R.V. Alvin. This petroleum is derived from the immature, primarily marine organic matter at depth by thermal alteration and rapid quenching by hydrothermal removal, followed by condensation at the seabed as part of the sulfide formations. Exterior. Exposed oil samples are degraded and leached, whereas interior samples are essentially unaltered.

Keywords

Hydrothermal Activity Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbon Marine Organic Matter Guaymas Basin DSDP Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernd R. T. Simoneit
    • 1
  1. 1.School of OceanographyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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