Significance of Isotopically Labile Organic Hydrogen in Thermal Maturation of Organic Matter Page: 1 of 17
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To: Dr. Nicholas Woodward
Department of Energy
Office of Science SC-64
19901 Germantown Rd
Germantown MD 20874-1290
SIGNIFICANCE OF ISOTOPICALLY LABILE ORGANIC HYDROGEN
IN THERMAL MATURATION OF ORGANIC MATTER
Arndt Schimmelmann and Maria Mastalerz2
1Department of Geological Sciences and 2Indiana Geological Survey
Indiana University, Bloomington IN 47405-1405
firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 812-855-7645
email@example.com; phone 812-855-9416
1. Project Objectives: Explore geochemical conditions and mechanisms that contribute to changes in
hydrogen and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in sedimentary organic matter during thermal maturation.
Evaluate the diagenetic and/or paleoenvironmental significance of D/H ratios (i.e., 2H/1H, expressed as
customary 8D values) in different types of kerogen, macerals, isolates, oils, fractions of oil, and gas.
2. Project Description: Isotopically labile organic hydrogen in fossil fuels occupies chemical positions
that participate in isotopic exchange and in chemical reactions during thermal maturation from kerogen to
bitumen, oil and gas. Carbon-bound organic hydrogen is isotopically far less exchangeable than hydrogen
bound to nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur. We explore why organic hydrogen isotope ratios express a
relationship with organic nitrogen isotope ratios in kerogen at low to moderate maturity. We develop and
apply new techniques to utilize organic D/H ratios in organic matter fractions and on a molecular level as
tools for exploration for fossil fuels and for paleoenvironmental research. The scope of our samples
includes naturally and artificially matured substrates, such as coal, shale, oil and gas.
3. Introduction: Since the beginning of the project in 2000, our research group has enjoyed nine years of
valuable DOE financial support and a tenth year of no-cost extension. As of March 2010, our DOE project
has resulted in 43 papers (i.e. 38 published or in press, 5 submitted; all but one have been subject to peer-
review) and 67 abstracts (see listing of all publications with available electronic links below).
We are proud that our DOE-sponsored research provided much exposure and recognition at
international and national conferences and professional meetings. Both PIs Schimmelmann and Mastalerz
have been invited keynote speakers at international meetings (e.g., at the Gordon Conference on Organic
Geochemistry in 2007, and at the 2009 ISOCOMPOUND conference). In the past five years, the
widespread recognition of our accomplishments resulted in several invitations to write review articles,
for example in the prestigious "Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences;
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Schimmelmann, Arndt & Mastalerz, Maria. Significance of Isotopically Labile Organic Hydrogen in Thermal Maturation of Organic Matter, report, March 30, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931558/m1/1/: accessed September 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.