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Plate tectonism drastically effects the thermal history of California basins in many ways. Initially, temperatures in the crust of coastal California are suppressed during subduction of the Farallon plate. With the passage of the Mendocino triple junction, subduction ceases and a void is created into which asthenosphere moves. This elevates temperatures in the basins in a complex manner depending on the time of passage of the Mendocino triple junction and the location of a specific basin. Finite-difference numerical models were developed to approximate the thermal effects of subduction and lithospheric upwelling.
Diagenetic reactions and sedimentation history affect both the maturation model and thermal history of a basin. Diagenetic reactions through time in the Miocene Monterey Formation may change thermal conductivity values by 70%. Facies changes also have an important effect on sediment thermal conductivity and hence sediment temperatures.
Maturation models indicate varying levels of maturity depending on the method used. Models using the Time Temperature Index of Lopatin indicate the lowest level of maturity. Tissot and Espitalie's method, which uses multiple activation energies and varying constants for the kerogen types, results in an intermediate level of maturity. The highest level of maturity results from the use of the Tissot and Espitalie method modified by using a single activation energy of 178.69 kJ mole-1 and a constant of 4.92 × 1013 hour-1 as reported by M. D. Lewan for shale from the Phosphoria Formation.
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