A tarry, benzene-soluble material is present in metal-rich veins in the Idarado mine, Ouray County, Colo., in an area not known to have petroleum resources. The material was compared chemically, spectometrically, and chromatographically with oils from four fields in the nearby Paradox basin. Each of these oil fields contains reservoir rocks equivalent to rock units known to extend beneath volcanic rocks near the mine. Carbon and sulfur isotope data and gas chromatographic data indicate a similarity between the oil from the nearby Sierra field and the oil from the mine. Thus, it seems both geologically and chemically possible that oil in the mine originated in Cretaceous sediments. Variations in the composition of oil from the mine and differences between the mine oil and Sierra oil, notably in the distributions of hydrocarbons, are attributed to bacterial degradation.
Additional Publication Details
A geochemical study of oil in metalliferous veins, Idarado Mine, San Juan Mountains, Colorado