Laboratory experiments were undertaken to study changes in concentrations of major inorganic ions during simulated burial of peats to about 1.5 km. Cladium, Rhizophora, and Cyrilla peats were first analyzed to determine cation distributions among fractions of the initial materials and minerals in residues from wet oxidation. Subsamples of the peats (80 g) were then subjected to increasing temperatures and pressures in steps of 5??C and 300 psi at 2-day intervals and produced solutions collected. After six steps, starting from 30??C and 300 psi, a final temperature of 60??C and a final pressure of 2100 psi were achieved. The system was then allowed to stand for an additional 2 weeks at 60??C and 2100 psi. Treatments resulted in highly altered organic solids resembling lignite and expelled solutions of systematically varying compositions. Solutions from each step were analyzed for Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, total dissolved Si (Si(T)), Cl-, SO42-, and organic acids and anions (OAAs). Some data on total dissolved Al (Al(T)) were also collected. Mobilization of major ions from peats during these experiments is controlled by at least three processes: (1) loss of dissolved ions in original porewater expelled during compaction, (2) loss of adsorbed cations as adsorption sites are lost during modification of organic solids, and (3) increased dissolution of inorganic phases at later steps due to increased temperatures (Si(T)) and increased complexing by OAAs (Al(T)). In general, results provide insight into early post-burial inorganic changes occurring during maturation of terrestrial organic matter. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.