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Direct Radiometric Dating of Hydrocarbon Deposits Using Rhenium-Osmium Isotopes

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Science  27 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5726, pp. 1293-1295
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111081

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Abstract

Rhenium-osmium (Re-Os) data from migrated hydrocarbons establish the timing of petroleum emplacement for the giant oil sand deposits of Alberta, Canada, at 112 ± 5.3 million years ago. This date does not support models that invoke oil generation and migration for these deposits in the Late Cretaceous. Most Re-Os data from a variety of deposits within the giant hydrocarbon system show similar characteristics, supporting the notion of a single source for these hydrocarbons. The Re-Os data disqualify Cretaceous rocks as the primary hydrocarbon source but suggest an origin from older source rocks. This approach should be applicable to dating oil deposits worldwide.

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