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Recent chemical work throwing light on the geochemistry of petroleum is reviewed. Evidence is submitted that many different sedimentary rocks are capable of causing polymerization of unsaturated hydrocarbons, a property hitherto generally believed to be limited to fuller's earth. Evidence strongly against the Engler theory of heat decomposition of fatty acids or other organic material is presented, including the recent work of Stadnikoff on peat and sapropelites. Hydrogenation under natural conditions or reduction by anaerobic fermentation processes, coupled with polymerization, are considered to be the major processes involved.
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