Geochemical Exploration for Petroleum

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Science  30 Aug 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4716, pp. 821-827
DOI: 10.1126/science.229.4716.821


Geochemical methods used in exploring for oil and natural gas are based on the premise that hydrocarbons migrate upward from subsurface petroleum accumulations and produce anomalous patterns near the surface. Geochemical exploration techniques are both direct or indirect. Direct techniques require analysis of microquantities of hydrocarbons that occur in the free state in the soil interstices or that are adsorbed on the fine-grained portions of the soil. Indirect geochemical methods are based on the detection, in near-surface soils or in vegetation, of inorganic alteration products that result from upward migration of hydrocarbons.