A study of active and ancient rift systems around the world suggests that accumulations of fossil fuels and metallic minerals are related to the interactions of processes that form rift valleys with those that take place in and around rift lakes. The deposition of the precursors of petroleum, gas, oil shale, coal, phosphate, barite, Cu-Pb-Zn sulfides, and uranium begins with erosion of uplifted areas, and the consequent input of abundant nutrients and solute loads into swamps and tectonic lakes. Hot springs and volcanism add other nutrients and solutes. The resulting high biological productivity creates oxidized/reduced interfaces, and anoxic and H2S-rich bottom waters which preserves metal-bearing organic tissues and horizons. In the depositional phases, the fine-grained lake deposits are in contact with coarse-grained beach, delta, river, talus, and alluvial fan deposits. Earthquake-induced turbidites also are common coarse-grained deposits of rift lakes. Postdepositional processes in rifts include high heat flow and a resulting concentration of the organic and metallic components that were dispersed throughout the lakebeds. Postdepositional faulting brings organic- and metal-rich sourcebeds in contact with coarse-grained host and reservoir rocks. A suite of potentially economic deposits is therefore a characteristic of rift valleys. ?? 1983.
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Accumulation of fossil fuels and metallic minerals in active and ancient rift lakes