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Central European Geology
István Vető
Katalin Báldi
Stjepan Ćorić
Magdolna Hetényi
Attila Demény
, and
István Futó

This study is intended to clarify the depositional environment of a 180-m-thick, immature, limy Middle Miocene oil source rock interval, cored in the Zala Basin, western Hungary. For this purpose, a highly interdisciplinary approach was applied combining simple, standard micropaleontological, isotopic, and organic geochemical methods, rarely applied together. Foraminifera were studied for estimating bottom oxygenation and water depth, while nannoplankton biostratigraphy permitted for estimating the rate of sedimentation. The studied source rocks were deposited in a rather shallow sea, below well-oxygenated bottom water. The abundant epiphytic foraminiferal fauna proves that the bottom was densely inhabited by benthic algae, while the high δ13Corg (>–22‰) clearly indicates massive benthic algal contribution to the kerogen. Mass accumulation rate of the limy upper part of the NN5 nannoplankton biozone, the oil source interval included, was very high (551 t/m2/Ma). In spite of moderate productivity and good oxygenation of the bottom, rapid accumulation of carbonate, produced partly by benthic algae, assured both the great relative weight of the marine organic components and their good preservation. Our results provide the first proof for the possibility of a major contribution of benthic algae to oil-prone kerogen.

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