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High-wax oils are significant because they appear to be the key to the origin of oil in nonmarine and brackish sediments. Saturated fatty acids with more than 20 carbon atoms that are found in recent soils and nonmarine sediments are the most likely precursors for the long-chain paraffin hydrocarbons and waxes found in crude oil.
Today's coastal marshes and northern peats contain roughly 10 times more lipids than do the marine-lagoon and open-shelf environments.
Ancient equivalents such as the lithologies associated with the "shoestring sands" of Kansas have coals which are higher in extractable hydrocarbons than the richest black shales. Assuming that migration causes the removal of only a small amount of indigenous hydrocarbons in sedimentary rocks, such coals as these should not be ignored as possible source rocks.
Large oil accumulations in nonmarine environments are more likely to occur in the vicinity of large faults where rapid burial allows preservation of the organic matter.
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