FTIR absorbance signals in kerogens and macerals were evaluated as indices for thermal maturity. Two sets of naturally matured type-II kerogens from the New Albany Shale (Illinois Basin) and the Exshaw Formation (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin) and kerogens from hydrous pyrolysis artificial maturation of the New Albany Shale were characterized by FTIR. Good correlation was observed between the aromatic/aliphatic absorption ratio and vitrinite reflectance R 0. FTIR parameters are especially valuable for determining the degree of maturity of marine source rocks lacking vitrinite. With increasing maturity, FTIR spectra express four trends: (i) an increase in the absorption of aromatic bands, (ii) a decrease in the absorption of aliphatic bands, (iii) a loss of oxygenated groups (carbonyl and carboxyl), and (iv) an initial decrease in the CH2/CH3 ratio that is not apparent at higher maturity in naturally matured samples, but is observed throughout increasing R0 in artificially matured samples. The difference in the CH2/CH 3 ratio in samples from natural and artificial maturation at higher maturity indicates that short-term artificial maturation at high temperatures is not fully equivalent to slow geologic maturation at lower temperatures. With increasing R0, the (carboxyl + carbonyl)/aromatic carbon ratio generally decreases, except that kerogens from the Exshaw Formation and from hydrous pyrolysis experiments express an intermittent slight increase at medium maturity. FTIR-derived aromaticities correlate well with R0, although some uncertainty is due to the dependence of FTIR parameters on the maceral composition of kerogen whereas R0 is solely dependent on vitrinite. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.