Charakterization and Evolution of the Petroleum Potential of the Salta Rift Basin, NW-Argentina

We investigate the geological evolution of the Salta Rift Basin with the aim of gaining new insights into the subsidence and maturation history, phases of thermal maturation, oil formation, expulsion, migration and accumulation. The Yacoraite Formation, which is considered the most important source rock in northwest Argentina, is the focus of the study. The Yacoraite Formation was deposited immediately after rift formation at the end of the Cretaceous (Maastricht-Dan) and comprises the last phase of marine transgression in this region, however, there are also clear indications of lacustrine depositional conditions. The project will help to reconstruct the paleo-depositional conditions of the Yacorite Formation using organic-geochemical characterization methods. The investigations show that not only the organic carbon content of this formation (0.5%-6% TOC) and the kerogen types but also the distribution of organofacies varies at both basin and sub-basin level, with Type II, Type II/III and subordinate Type III kerogen dominating. Furthermore, the hydrocarbon potential of this source rock will be investigated and characterized geochemically in detail. Our goal is to qualitatively and quantitatively characterize the petroleum types according to the organofacies from which they are generated by using correlations between artificial petroleum generated in pyrolysis experiments from source rocks and naturally occurring crude oils available in the literature. The geochemical results will be integrated into a basin model of the Tres Cruces Basin, a sub-basin of the Salta Rift Basin, with the aim to elucidate the formation and migration of hydrocarbons in this basin.

Samples of different facies types of the Yacoraite Fm. from the sub-basins of Tres Cruces and Metán-Alemanía


Ricardo Ruiz - PhD Student- University Potsdam & GFZ-Potsdam

Dr. Robert Ondrak - GFZ-Potsdam

Prof. Brian Horsfield - GFZ-Potsdam

Prof. Manfred Strecker - University Potsdam

Prof. Eduardo Rosello - CONICET-FCEN, Buenos Aires University






  • The German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • The federal state of Brandenburg
    Ricardo Ruiz Monroy
    PhD Student
    M. Sc. Ricardo Ruiz Monroy
    Organic Geochemistry
    Building B, Room 455
    14473 Potsdam
    Robert Ondrak
    Dr. Robert Ondrak
    Organic Geochemistry
    Building B, Room 422
    14473 Potsdam
    +49 331 288-1344