Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Jan Harff, Martin Meschede, Sven Petersen, Jörn Thiede

Source Rocks, Reservoirs

  • Rüdiger Stein
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6644-0_151-3


A source rock is any type of rock that may generate hydrocarbons in the future, depending on the amount of organic matter present and adequate temperature and pressure conditions at a specific burial depth as well as sufficient time to reach the needed maturity. A good source rock should have a total organic carbon (TOC) content of larger than 1 %. Most prominent source rocks are sapropels and black shales but also TOC-rich carbonate rocks.

Reservoir rocks are rocks that have sufficient porosity and permeability to store and transmit fluids and gas. Typical reservoir rocks are sandstones and carbonate rocks.

“Source rocks” and “reservoirs” are major components of the Petroleum System, consisting of a mature source rock, migration pathway, reservoir rock, trap, and seal (e.g., Tissot and Welte, 1984). For the accumulation and preservation of hydrocarbons, the appropriate relative timing of the formation of these elements is of major relevance.

Source rocks (or organic...


Total Organic Carbon Source Rock Black Shale Reservoir Rock Petroleum System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geosciences DepartmentAlfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)BremerhavenGermany