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Several chemical characteristics of oils and asphaltites in the frontal and central Ouachita Mountains have been examined. Results indicate that the three oils and six asphaltites examined from Atoka, Pittsburg, and Pushmataha counties in southeastern Oklahoma originated from a common source. Carbon isotope ratios for oil and asphaltite suggest that the asphaltite is neither a protopetroleum nor a thermally degraded crude oil. Results of metallic and elemental analyses are consistent with an oil alteration origin for Ouachita solid bitumens. It is proposed that low-temperature, near-surface alteration phenomena, such as biodegradation and water washing, have degraded crude oil to produce asphaltite in the frontal and central areas. These results suggest that previous assu ptions of a high temperature history are unwarranted.
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