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Role of Microbes in the Smectite-to-Illite Reaction

Science  06 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5659, pp. 830-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.1093245

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Abstract

Temperature, pressure, and time have been thought to control the smectite-to-illite (S-I) reaction, an important diagenetic process used for petroleum exploration. We demonstrated that microorganisms can promote the S-I reaction by dissolving smectite through reduction of structural Fe(III) at room temperature and 1atmosphere within 14 days. This reaction typically requires conditions of 300° to 350°C, 100 megapascals, and 4 to 5 months in the absence of microbial activity. These results challenge the conventional concept of the S-I reaction and of reaction kinetic models.

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