Raman Spectroscopy: an effective thermal marker in low temperature carbonaceous fold-thrust belts

D. K. Muirhead* (Corresponding Author), C. E. Bond, H. Watkins, R. W. H. Butler, A. Schito, Z. Crawford, A. Marpino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
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Raman spectroscopy allows thermal maturation of carbonaceous sediments to be determined. The technique has been employed on metamorphic samples exceeding temperatures of 270 ○C, but recently has been shown to be effective at lower temperatures. Thermal maturation techniques commonly depend on sample size, have varying efficacies at different temperatures and in different conditions. The underlying processes are not well understood, thus data interpretation can be ambiguous. Here we show the efficacy of Raman as a low temperature thermal marker in a thrust belt. The Bornes region, French subalpine chain provides an opportunity to test the technique against published vitrinite reflectance data and thermal modelling for the first time. In doing so we show that Raman is an effective thermal marker to temperatures as low as 75 ○C, has a small error and is consistent with previous work. The Raman data allows us to postulate the relative thickness of the sedimentary succession across the chain, timing of thermal maturation and timing and thickness variations of the over-thrust Prealpine nappe. The work establishes Raman as a low temperature thermal marker for correlation with other techniques to ensure effective and robust interpretation, that can readily be applied to fold-thrust belts in hydrocarbon provinces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalGeological Society Special Publications
Early online date17 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Special Publication title- Fold and Thrust Belts: Structural Style, Evolution and Exploration

Z. Crawford and A. Marpino were funded through the University of Aberdeen, School of Geosciences for MGeol and MSc project work. Bond, Butler and Watkins were supported through the Fold-Thrust Research Group, sponsored by Oil Search, Santos and Interoil.


  • Raman
  • Low temperature
  • thrusts
  • foreland
  • folds
  • maturation


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