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An inorganic origin of the “oil-source” rocks carbon substance

S.A. Marakushev, O.V. Belonogova

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On the basis of an inorganic concept of the petroleum origin, the phase relationships of crystalline kerogens of black shales and liquid oil at the physicochemical conditions of a typical geobarotherm on the Texas Gulf Coast are considered. At the conditions of the carbon dioxide (CO2) high fluid pressure, the process of oil transformation into kerogens of varying degrees of “maturity” (retrograde metamorphism) takes place with decreasing temperature and hydrogen pressure. Kerogen generation in black shale rocks occurs by the sequential transition through metastable equilibria of liquid oil and crystalline kerogens (phase “freezing” of oil). The upward migration of hydrocarbons (HC) of oil fluids, clearly recorded in the processes of oil deposit replenishment in oil fields, shifts the oil ↔ kerogen equilibrium towards the formation of kerogen. In addition, with decreasing of the hydrogen chemical potential as a result of the process of high-temperature carboxylation and low-temperature hydration of oil hydrocarbons, the “mature” and “immature” kerogens are formed, respectively.

The phase relationships of crystalline black shale kerogens  and liquid oil under hypothetical conditions of high fluid pressure of the HC generated in the regime of geodynamic compression of silicate shells of the Earth in the result of the deep alkaline magmatism development. It is substantiated that a falling of hydrogen pressure in rising HC fluids will lead to the transformation of fluid hydrocarbons into liquid oil, and as the HC fluids rise to the surface, the HC ↔oil ↔ kerogen equilibrium will shift towards the formation of oil and kerogen.

It is round that both in the geodynamic regime of compression and in the regime of expansion of the mantle and crust, carboxylation and hydration are the main geochemical pathways for the transformation of oil hydrocarbons into kerogen and, therefore, the most powerful geological mechanism for the black shale formations.
chemical potentials, phase diagrams, metastable equilibria, hydrocarbons, fluids, oil, kerogen, black shales, oil deposit replenishment, retrograde metamorphism, carboxylation, hydration
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Sergey A. Marakushev
Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences
1, Ac. Semenov Av., Chernogolovka, Moscow Region, 142432, Russian Federation. e-mail:

Olga V. Belonogova
Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences
1, Ac. Semenov Av., Chernogolovka, Moscow Region, 142432, Russian Federation. e-mail:


For citation:

Marakushev S.A., Belonogova O.V. (2021). An inorganic origin of the “oil-source” rocks carbon substance. Georesursy = Georesources, 23(3), pp. 164–176. DOI: