In petroleum geochemistry, extractable hydrocarbons (HCs) in source rocks have typically been studied by grinding the rock to a fine powder (???100 mesh) and then extracting the HCs from the rock with a solvent. This procedure carries the implicit assumption that the HCs are homogeneously distributed throughout the rock. However, sequential Soxhlet extractions of whole (unpowdered) source rocks have shown that progressive extracts from the same rock can be quite different and may not even correlate with each other. A crude oil-like material clearly has been fractionated from indigenous bitumen in these rocks, has moved to cracks and parting laminae in the rocks, is ready for expulsion from the rocks, and is thus most accessible to the first extracting solvents. This process, which we believe is largely due to HC gases and carbon dioxide generated over all maturation ranks in source rocks, carries petroleum geochemical implications of a fundamental nature for oil-source rock correlations and gives insight into primary migration mechanisms, origin of oil deposits, and use of maturity and organic-facies indices. ?? 1992.