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Title: Assessing low-maturity organic matter in shales using Raman spectroscopy: Effects of sample preparation and operating procedure
Authors: Henry, Delano G.
Jarvis, Ian
Gillmore, Gavin
Stephenson, Michael
Emmings, Joseph F.
First Published: 17-Mar-2018
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: International Journal of Coal Geology, 191, pp. 135-151
Abstract: Laser Raman spectroscopy is used to assess the thermal maturity of organic matter in sedimentary rocks, particularly organic-rich mudstones. However, discrepancies exist between quantified Raman spectral parameters and maturity values obtained by vitrinite reflectance. This has prevented the adoption of a standard protocol for the determination of thermal maturity of organic matter (OM) by Raman spectroscopy. We have examined the factors influencing the Raman spectra obtained from low-maturity OM in potential shale gas reservoir rocks. The inconsistencies in Raman results obtained are due to three main factors that are critically evaluated: (1) different operational procedures, including experiment setup and spectral processing methods; (2) different methods of sample preparation; (3) the analysis of diverse types of OM. These factors are scrutinized to determine the sources of inconsistency and potential bias in Raman results, and guidance is offered on the development of robust and reproducible analytical protocols. We present two new Raman parameters for un-deconvolved spectra named the DA1/GA ratio (area ratio of 1100–1400 cm−1/1550–1650 cm−1) and SSA (scaled spectrum area: sum of total area between 1100 and 1700 cm−1) that offer potential maturity proxies. An automated spreadsheet procedure is presented that processes raw Raman spectra and calculates several of the most commonly used Raman parameters, including the two new variables.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.coal.2018.03.005
ISSN: 0166-5162
eISSN: 1872-7840
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2018. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License (, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Description: Supplementary data to this article can be found online at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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