The Neogene Paratethys successions of Central Europe and the southern Caucasus are considered as important source rocks for hydrocarbons. Due to different regional biostratigraphic stages used for potential source rock successions, paleoenvironmental correlations remain enigmatic and hydrocarbon source rock formation is poorly understood. The goal of this project is to reconstruct the Eocene to Miocene paleogeographical and environmental evolution for the Central and Eastern Paratethys in the framework of forcing contributions of tectonics and climate.
To accomplish this goal, the marine and estuarine successions of the Maikop series of the Greater Caucasus, the Tard Clay of the Pannonian Basin, the Menilite Shales of the Carpathian Foredeep, the Bulgarian Ruslar Formation, and of the Alpine Foreland Basin will be studied using a multidisciplinary research approach. This approach includes:
(1) Combining biostratigraphic data with a variety of geophysical, geochemical, stable isotope (C, N, O), and organic (Rock-Eval) analyses
(2) Detailed characterization of the molecular composition of organic matter (e.g. maturity, facies, origin) in source rocks and hydrocarbon reservoirs
(3) Compound-specific C-isotope analyses on biomarkers; H- and C-isotopic composition of oil and gas
(4) Basin models for hydrocarbon generation
The results of this approach will allow to constrain the influence and interaction of the controlling factors on changes in biological communities, water exchange and formation of natural resources in intra-continental basins. Reconstruction of the thermal evolution of hydrocarbon source rocks and of charging events will enhance our understanding on the pre-conditions and generation of petroleum deposits within the prospective areas. The results are expected to contribute to the understanding of the petroleum systems and, therefore, increase the successful exploration and sustainable exploitation of hydrocarbons.
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