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Reflectance, Raman band separation and Mean multivariant curve resolution (MCR) in organic matter in Boquillas Shale

December 17, 2021

The molecular composition of petroliferous organic matter and its composition evolution throughout thermal advance are key to understanding and insight into petroleum generation. This information is critical for comprehending hydrocarbon resources in unconventional reservoirs, as source rock organic matter is highly dispersed, in contact with the surrounding mineral matrix, and may be present as multiple organic matter types. Here, a combination of Raman spectroscopy and optical microscopy approaches was applied to a marginally mature (vitrinite reflectance ~0.5%) sample of the Late Cretaceous Boquillas Shale before and after hydrous pyrolysis (HP) at 300 degrees C and 330 degrees C for 72 hours. This experimental design allowed for correlative examination of micro-scale changes in organic matter compositional properties (e.g., aromaticity) for a variety of organic matter types across a thermal gradient at the single particle level. Results indicate that while the examined amorphous organic matter, solid bitumen, and vitrinite particles exhibit different aromatic signatures in the unheated shale, they effectively progress along a similar trend through composition space with thermal advance. Examined inertinite fragments were generally insensitive to the applied thermal stress, reinforcing the idea that reservoir temperature may be secondary for dictating the molecular composition of inertinite. Additional analysis of the Raman spectra for individual organic matter types was performed using multivariate curve resolution (MCR); correlation of standard Raman and reflectance-derived thermal maturity proxies against MCR parameters shows consistent trends. This trend suggests that MCR may be a fast and statistically robust method for extracting compositional information from Raman spectra of sedimentary organic matter that can be used to construct thermal maturity relationships. These findings inform the understanding of how different petroliferous organic matter types evolve throughout thermal reactions and further demonstrate that Raman spectroscopy combined with petrographic analysis can provide complementary estimates of organic matter composition and thermal maturity.

Publication Year 2021
Title Reflectance, Raman band separation and Mean multivariant curve resolution (MCR) in organic matter in Boquillas Shale
DOI 10.5066/P9DC1TXP
Authors Justin E Birdwell, Aaron M Jubb, Paul C Hackley, Javin J Hatcherian, Mary R Croke
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Geology, Energy & Minerals Science Center