Four source rock units on the North Slope were identified, characterized, and mapped to better understand the origin of petroleum in the area: Hue-gamma ray zone (Hue-GRZ), pebble shale unit, Kingak Shale, and Shublik Formation. Rock-Eval pyrolysis, total organic carbon analysis, and well logs were used to map the present-day thickness, organic quantity (TOC), quality (hydrogen index, HI), and thermal maturity (Tmax) of each unit. To map these units, we screened all available geochemical data for wells in the study area and assumed that the top and bottom of the oil window occur at Tmax of ~440° and 470°C, respectively. Based on several assumptions related to carbon mass balance and regional distributions of TOC, the present-day source rock quantity and quality maps were used to determine the extent of fractional conversion of the kerogen to petroleum and to map the original organic richness prior to thermal maturation.
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USGS Numbered Series
Distribution, richness, quality, and thermal maturity of source rock units on the North Slope of Alaska