McKenzie’s approach to basin subsidence as a consequence of the thermal effects of lithosphere stretching proved powerful and was quickly and widely adopted in the hydrocarbon industry. “I then became very interested in the applications,” says McKenzie, “partly because I worked with Andrew Mackenzie, an organic geochemist.” They showed that the thermal history of the sediments filling the basin was a useful tool for understanding how and where carbon-rich sediments would be heated enough to produce oil.
At this time, desktop computers were coming into use. “Andrew joined BP and got me as a consultant to write a programme to do the thermal evolution of the source rocks generating oil for use in BP. I wrote the codes on a PC so you could just do these calculations on the desktop, when before it was an overnight run on the mainframe.”
In their paper of 1980, Bert BallyAlbert W Bally (1925-present) is a Dutch geologist who through his career focused on data, bridging the academic and commercial worlds. His work for Shell (1954-1981) gave him an overview of the structural and sedimentary geology of the world, especially but not exclusively those areas that produced oil and gas. He published extensively, including landmark papers on the thin-skinned tectonic structure of the Canadian Rockies, and on the geodynamics of hydrocarbon occurrence and masterminded seismic atlases that compiled industry data for general use. and Sig Snelson classify sedimentary basins worldwide in terms of their tectonic setting and the chances of finding hydrocarbons in each type. They apply the plate tectonics framework to basin formation and its outcome, the sequence of sediments within the basin. This application in areas of commercial interest demonstrates the increasingly diverse applications of the plate tectonics paradigm.