Geochemical analyses of coal samples from the Upper Cretaceous Fruitland Formation in the San Juan Basin of New Mexico and Colorado were used to determine thermal maturity, type of kerogen, and hydrocarbon generation potential. Mean random vitrinite reflectance (%Rm) of the Fruitland coal ranges from 0.42 to 1.54%. Rock-Eval pyrolysis data and saturated to aromatic hydrocarbon ratio indicate that the onset of thermal hydrocarbon generation begins at about 0.60% Rm and peak generation occurs at about 0.85% Rm. Several samples have hydrogen index values between 200 and 400, indicating some potential for liquid hydrocarbon generation and a mixed Type III and II kerogen. Pentacyclic and tricyclic terpanes, steranes, aromatic steroids and methylphenanthrene maturity parameters were observed through the complete range of thermal maturity in the Fruitland coals. Aromatic pentacyclic terpanes, similar to those found in brown coals of Australia, were observed in low maturity samples, but not found above 0.80% Rm. N-alkane depleted coal samples, which occur at a thermal maturity of approx. 0.90% Rm, paralleling peak hydrocarbon generation, are fairly widespread throughout the basin. Depletion of n-alkanes in these samples may be due to gas solution stripping and migration fromthe coal seams coincident with the development of pressure induced fracturing due to hydrocarbon generation; however, biodegradation may also effect these samples. ?? 1993.
Additional publication details
Geochemical evaluation of upper cretaceous fruitland formation coals, San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado