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K-State Today

December 12, 2018

Geology professor receives American Chemical Society grant to better understand petroleum formation

Submitted by Karin Goldberg

Karin Goldberg, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences' geology department, has received a grant from the American Chemical Society's Petroleum Research Fund to study the environmental conditions on accumulation of organic matter in mudstones, using the Woodford/Chattanooga Shale in Kansas as a natural laboratory.

Such rocks have long been recognized as potential sources for hydrocarbons but only more recently have become directly exploitable as actual petroleum reservoirs, which has led to renewed interest in the controls on their hydrocarbon potential.

The purpose of this research is to better understand the nature of the depositional environments and paleogeographic settings that are most conducive for accumulation of high concentrations of organic matter in mudstones, thus providing a predictive tool for the spatial and temporal distribution of these rocks types. If we understand how the environment controls composition and texture of sediments, we can predict where to look for source rocks, as well as where in these rocks it is easier to fracture in order to extract petroleum.

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