A series of Late Devonian to Early Mississippian type II kerogens with vitrinite reflectance values Ro 0.29-2.41% were analyzed using py-GC-MS. In addition, a low maturity kerogen with Ro 0.44% was separated into fractions via density gradient centrifugation, followed by py-GC-MS of the alginite and amorphinite maceral concentrates. Alkylbenzenes and n-alk-1-ene/n-alkane doublets represented the main compound classes identified in all pyrolysates. The pyrolysate from alginite featured 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene and toluene as the two most prominent alkylbenzenes. In contrast, alkylbenzenes in pyrolysates from amorphinite and low maturity bulk kerogens with Ro 0.29-0.63% were dominated by 1,2,3,4-tetramethylbenzene. With increasing thermal maturity, pyrolysates were increasingly dominated by (i) alkylbenzenes with fewer methyl groups, namely by tri- and dimethylbenzenes at medium maturity (Ro 0.69-1.19%), and (ii) by toluene at higher maturity (Ro 1.30-2.41%). With increasing maturity of kerogen type II, the decreasing abundance of highly methyl-substituted alkylbenzenes and the parallel increase in less methyl-substituted alkylbenzenes in flash pyrolysates suggest that demethylation is an important chemical process in the thermal maturation of kerogen type II. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.