Chapter 3

Delving into the applications


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.

Chemical notes by Andrew Mackenzie, April 1981, from working files for “Isomerization and aromatization of hydrocarbons in sedimentary basins formed by extension” (1983).