Geochemistry and origin of organic-rich sediment veins in fractured granitic basement, Helmsdale, Sutherlandshire, UK

John Parnell, Mas'Ud Baba, Stephen Bowden, Liam Bullock

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Black sediment veins up to 2 cm width penetrate the Caledonian Helmsdale Granite in the vicinity of the Helmsdale Fault, onshore Moray Firth. The black colour and geochemistry of the veins reflect a high content of organic carbon. Both Devonian and Jurassic shales are conceivable available sources, but sterane compositions relate the organic matter to the Jurassic shales. A content of extractable organic matter higher than in the shales suggests that the carbon in the veins represents oil rather than mechanically mobilized shale. The oil was present during sediment vein emplacement. The veins were emplaced forcefully, which may reflect high fluid pressure associated with post-Jurassic movement on the Helmsdale Fault.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Early online date12 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017



  • Injectites
  • Moray Firth
  • Helmsdale Fault
  • Helmsdale Granite
  • Great Glen Fault

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