Depositional setting and organic matter characterization of the Upper Devonian Antrim Shale, Michigan Basin: Implications for hydrocarbon potential

Ahmed Mansour, Adedoyin Adeyilola, Thomas Gentzis, Humberto Carvajal-Ortiz, Natalia Zakharova

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5 Scopus citations


During the Late Devonian, the Michigan Basin in the Eastern Interior Seaway was characterized by phases of well-developed bottom water anoxia, triggering extensive accumulation of organic matter-rich black shales. Palynological analysis for paleoenvironmental reconstruction and biostratigraphy of the Upper Devonian rocks has been previously performed in other basins of eastern North America, but it is lacking in the Michigan Basin. Here, the Upper Devonian Antrim Shale Formation is investigated for biostratigraphic, paleoenvironmental, and sea level reconstructions, organic matter characterization, and source rock potential. 35 core samples from three drill holes across the Michigan Basin spanning the Norwood, Paxton, Lachine, and Upper members. Palynological analysis showed a moderately diverse assemblage of 31 genera represented by 53 species of relatively well-preserved prasinophyte phycomata and acritarchs, with sparse records of plant spores and freshwater algae. Based on marker prasinophytes and acritarchs, an age of late Frasnian was assigned to the Norwood and Paxton members, while an early Famennian age was proposed to the Lachine and Upper members of the Antrim Shale. Two palynofacies assemblages (PFA) were identified from the variation in the particulate organic matter (POM) composition, both of which indicate deposition in a distal inner neritic shelf environment, but the PFA-2 took place in slightly shallower conditions than the PFA-1. Geochemical screening indicated high organic matter content (up to 25 wt%, avg. 8.5 wt%) and excellent hydrocarbon generating potential of kerogen Type II for the Norwood, Lachine, and Upper members. Only the Paxton Member was dominated by poor to fair organic richness (<0.6 wt%) and low hydrocarbon potential with a mixed Type II/III kerogen. Organic petrography indicated that the dominant organic matter assemblage consists mainly of unicellular marine Tasmanites telalginite and Leiosphaeridia, followed by solid bitumen of the initial oil type. Thermal maturity, determined from VRo-eq and Tmax, indicated that all samples are in the oil window, except for some intervals in the Paxton Member.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105683
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Acritarchs
  • Antrim shale
  • Frasnian-Famennian
  • Michigan basin
  • Palynofacies analysis
  • Prasinophytes
  • Source rock assessment


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