Solid bitumens (grahamite and impsonite) of southeastern Oklahoma have been shown to originate from near-surface alteration of crude oil (Curiale, 1981; Curiale and Harrison, 1981). Pyrolysis of these solids has been employed to compare the sterane distribution of geographically proximate oils to that of the bitumens. The ratio of rearranged to regular steranes is higher in the pyrolyzates than in the oils, a finding consistent with a bitumen origin due to biodegradation of oil. The remaining presence of steranes, particularly regular steranes, in the bitumens suggests that sterane occlusion may have occurred prior to or during the alteration process, thus removing tetracyclic compounds from the influence of microbial attack. These data suggest that pyrolysis- GC MS offers a viable approach to correlation problems involving solid bitumens. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
Sterane distribution of solid bitumen pyrolyzates. Changes with biodegradation of crude oil in the Ouachita Mountains, Oklahoma