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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 56 (1972)

Issue: 11. (November)

First Page: 2273

Last Page: 2277

Title: Distribution of Carbon in Crust of Earth: GEOLOGICAL NOTES

Author(s): John M. Hunt (2)


The total carbon in crust of the earth is about 9 × 1022 g. Continental and oceanic sediments contain 1.2 × 1022 g of organic carbon and 6.4 × 1022 g of carbonate carbon. There is about three times as much organic carbon in claystones and shales as in carbonate rocks and sandstones. The carbon in the oil and gas of petroleum reservoirs totals 1 × 1018 g or about 0.01 percent of the organic carbon in sedimentary rocks. The hydrogen in the organic matter of sedimentary rocks totals 9 × 1020 g or about 32 times as much as is needed to form all the petroleum in both reservoir and nonreservoir rocks. This inventory shows not only that there is adequate hydrogen to form oil in the sediments, but als that the entire process of the origin, migration, and accumulation of petroleum is extremely inefficient.

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