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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 68 (1984)

Issue: 11. (November)

First Page: 1704

Last Page: 1717

Title: Determination of Paleoheat Flux from Vitrinite Reflectance Data

Author(s): I. Lerche (2), R. F. Yarzab (3), C. G. St. C. Kendall (3)

Article Type: Meeting abstract


A method is presented for determining paleoheat flux from the reflectance of vitrinite collected from wells. The maturation of vitrinite is modeled using a time-temperature Previous HitintegralTop that assumes pseudo-first-order kinetics.

In testing the numerical algorithm, it was necessary to introduce a "critical temperature" of 295° K, below which vitrinite does not mature; this result is consistent with the latest findings of independent researchers.

The degree of consistency obtained from a number of wells is not perfect; much of the inconsistency can be attributed to large uncertainties in the vitrinite reflectance readings.

To test the method, heat-flow history was determined for the North Sea basin and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. Quantitative results were obtained detailing the increase and/or decrease of heat flux with time, and were consistent with the qualitative behavior inferred for paleoheat flow from current geologic models.

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