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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Petroleum Geology


Journal of Petroleum Geology, Vol.2, No.4, pp. 439-447, 1980

┬ęCopyright 2000 Scientific Press, Ltd.


A. Bein and O. Amit*

*Oil Research Division, Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhei Yisrael Street, Jerusalem, 95501, Israel.


The asphalts found as floating blocks on the Dead Sea and deep-seated in wells differ from all other asphalts of the area, mostly by their more abundant and much better preserved n-alkanes. Since biodegradation was found to be the main alteration process through which crude oil was altered into asphalts, such well-preserved n-alkanes are unexpected. A hypothesis of secondary generation of these alkanes was tested by pyrolysis simulation of asphalt at 300┬░ C during periods ranging up to 60 days. The abundance and distribution pattern of the n-alkanes in the simulated asphalts after 14 days of heating resembles that of the floating asphalt blocks and that found at a depth of 3,500 m. In addition to saturated hydrocarbons, aromatics and gases were also formed at the expense of resins and asphaltenes. The H/C ratio was Previous HitbalancedTop by the formation of pyrobitumen and by a gradual decrease of the H/C ratio in the residual resins and asphaltenes. The gas formed contained about 60 to 80% methane with an isotopic composition of -41 to 42%. The hydrocarbon content of the simulated asphalt (gas and liquids) increased from about 15% at the starting material to about 60% after 60 days of heating.

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