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The Kimmeridge Clay Formation is a Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous clastic source rock which extends from offshore Norway to offshore Canada and the English Channel. It is the principal source of the North Sea oils. The base is diachronous but the top is synchronous over the North Sea. In the North Sea it is typically 150 m thick with TOC = 4-5% and HI = 350 to 450; accumulation rate was about 15 m/Ma.
Deposition apparently occurred in a stratified sea. An upper layer flowed southward from the polar Boreal Ocean to Tethys at perhaps 1 km day-1, over a warm saline bottom water (WSBW). Much evidence exists for a negative water balance, but none for unusual organic productivity. Deposition of the organic-rich facies probably ceased following a slight climatic change; this produced a basin overturn, and consequently a cool, oxygenated bottom current flowing southward.
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