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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 72 (1988)

Issue: 8. (August)

First Page: 926

Last Page: 931

Title: Interpretation of Discontinuous Vitrinite Reflectance Profiles

Author(s): B. J. Katz (2), R. N. Pheifer (3), D. J. Schunk (2)


Time-temperature modeling was used to examine the effects of reburial on vitrinite reflectance profiles associated with stratigraphic uncomformities. Offsets in reflectance data for shallow unconformities can, in many cases, be explained by erosion and may provide a minimum estimate of the amount of missing section. As reburial progresses, the offset in reflectance values at the unconformity decreases in accordance with the thermal energy required to activate reaction pathways in strata above and below the unconformity, until no statistically significant difference exists in vitrinite reflectance across the stratigraphic boundary. The reflectance profile is thus "annealed." When observed at great depths, significant offsets in reflectance values typically require geologic lly unreasonable amounts of erosion. Alternate explanations for offsets at great burial depths include igneous and metamorphic events and complications associated with editing and interpreting vitrinite reflectance data.

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