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GeoMark Research, Ltd.

9748 Whithorn Drive 
Houston, Texas 77095

GeoMark Research, Ltd.





Source rock analysis is critical to your petroleum exploration success, both conventional and unconventional, as it helps characterize sedimentary organic matter and evaluate resource potential. GeoMark’s source rock laboratory, located in Humble, Texas, is one of the premier source rock laboratories in the oil and gas industry. With ten pyrolysis instruments, including Leco TOC, Rock Eval-II, Rock Eval-VI, SRA, and HAWK, we are equipped to handle any project in a timely manner. Our highly trained staff and dedication to following strict QA/QC procedures ensure accurate, reliable data that you can trust.


Source rock analysis is typically performed when initially assessing the potential of an oil or gas field of interest. It helps guide your immediate and future drilling program decisions, by determining:

Organic richness/total organic content (TOC)
Free hydrocarbons in place (S1)
Remaining hydrocarbon potential (S2)
Thermal maturity (Tmax)

This information is used in development work to define landing zones, but also expands to exploration projects, as it helps confirm petroleum system source presence and maturity.

HAWK Instrument
In addition to the standard pyrolysis analysis method, which provides information on the quantity, type, and thermal maturity of organic matter, we also offer modified and customizable pyrolysis methods, such as HAWK-PAM, to achieve a better understanding of S1 characteristics. If needed, GeoMark can recommend and coordinate follow-up analyses, such as vitrinite reflectance and organic petrography, to confirm thermal maturity estimates provided by pyrolysis.
The low cost of source rock analysis makes it an ideal “screening” tool before committing to more expensive, detailed geochemical analyses, such as fingerprinting hydrocarbon extracts, SARA, biomarker analyses, and crushed shale (TruSat™) core evaluation. Whether analyzing cuttings, outcrops, core, or RSWC samples, GeoMark has the expertise to give you the answers you need.

HAWK-PAM Pyrogram

Sample Temperature Adjusted


An outcrop is a formation that is visible on the surface, making it easy and inexpensive to collect samples. Yet, these samples can provide valuable insight when looking for new potential source rocks. Additionally, outcrops may represent an end-member to your regional understanding of a source rock, helping constrain the overall risk of your project. Often, outcrops represent a less mature portion of the play and, therefore, can serve as a good measurement of original potential and the presence of organic material.

Outcrop Sampling Best Practices

For best results when collecting outcrop samples:

The outer 12 to 18 inches of material should be removed prior to taking samples to avoid extreme weathering and oxidation.
Outcrops can be stored in cloth bags, cuttings envelopes, or plastic bags and should be properly labeled with detailed location and formation information.


Q. Is pyrolysis data different from one instrument to another?

A. When properly maintained and calibrated, all pyrolysis instruments should provide equivalent data, within a margin of error. Upon request, GeoMark can provide information on internal comparisons that have been performed to give you confidence in your own data and analytical program.

Q. Why does my data plot as a type III kerogen when I know that it is a marine shale?

A. Many of the interpretive plots included with pyrolysis data are intended for immature source rocks. Therefore, as source rocks mature and hydrocarbons are expelled, the remaining hydrocarbon potential decreases, causing less validity in the kerogen type plots.

Q. What is a low temperature S2 shoulder and how does it affect my data?

A. low temperature S2 shoulder is generally carryover of heavier free oil compounds from S1 into the S2 peak, which can cause an elevated S2 value and suppression of Tmax data. For the most accurate Tmax maturity data, it is recommended that samples with low temperature S2 shoulders are solvent extracted, then rerun for pyrolysis on the extracted rock. Please contact us to talk with a subject matter expert about the best sample preparation methods for your project.

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9748 Whithorn Drive | Houston, Texas

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