Paleothermicity In The Central Asturian Coal Basin, North Spain

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Journal Article: Paleothermicity In The Central Asturian Coal Basin, North Spain

This research shows for the first time maps of vitrinite reflectances and paleotemperatures from the Central Asturian Coal Basin (North Spain) which is a Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) Basin mainly of Moscovian age. Vitrinite reflectance values decrease from north to south whereas volatile matter distribution increases from south to north. Vitrinite reflectance and volatile matter parameters indicate a coal rank ranging from high volatile bituminous coal in the north, to semianthracite and anthracite in the south. Rock-Eval data show that the organic matter of this basin is Type III kerogen, with a maturation ranging from oil to gas window. Paleotemperatures were calculated by diverse methods using vitrinite reflectance data for different durations of heating and Rock-Eval results. The calculated paleotemperatures and vertical paleotemperature gradients decrease from south to north. The thermal gradient variation in the Central Asturian Coal Basin points to the influence of at least two heating events that affected the organic matter. The first associated with a regular geothermal gradient operating over a long period of time, and the second linked to a southern granitic event of short duration estimated by tectonic data. The short thermal event was located at the end of sedimentation (Late Moscovian and Late Westphalian D) and after folding, but before the overthrusting during the Asturian tectonic phase located before the Early Kasimovian (Cantabrian and Stephanian) deposits. Finally, a simulation of paleotemperatures around the granitic pluton was calculated and compared to maps of paleotemperatures obtained by various methods. These maps refer to an initial depth of one or two km in accordance with the selected methods that are compatible with local erosion. This approach was preferred in order to explain the metamorphism of coal, rather than the hypothesis of hydrothermal fluid flow proposed for other foreland basins. This regional thermal anomaly could be important for future coalbed methane assessment.

Noe Piedad-Sanchez, Alain Izart, Luis Martinez, Isabel Suarez-Ruiz, Marcel Elie and Cedric Menetrier

Published Journal 
International Journal of Coal Geology, 2004



Noe Piedad-Sanchez,Alain Izart,Luis Martinez,Isabel Suarez-Ruiz,Marcel Elie,Cedric Menetrier. 2004. Paleothermicity In The Central Asturian Coal Basin, North Spain. International Journal of Coal Geology. (!) .