Oils generated by Middle Ordovician rocks are found throughout the Mid-Continent and east-central regions of the United States. Gas chromatographic characteristics of these oils include a relatively high abundance of n-alkanes with carbon numbers less than 20, a strong predominance of odd-numbered n-alkanes between C//1//0 and C//2//0, and relatively small amounts of branched and cyclic alkanes. The wide ranges in delta **1**3C for oils and rock extracts reflect a major, positive excursion(s) in organic matter delta **1**3C in late Middle Ordovician rocks. This excursion has at least regional significance in that it can be documented in sections 480 mi apart in south-central Kansas and eastern Iowa. The distance may be as much as 930 mi. The parallel shifts in organic and carbonate delta **1**3C in core samples from 1 E. M. Greene well, Washington County, Iowa, imply changes in the isotope composition of the ocean-atmosphere carbon reservoir. These and other aspects of the subject are discussed.