A complex fossilized organic material, found in oil shale and other sedimentary rock, that is insoluble in common organic solvents and yields petroleum products on distillation.
- The bulk of organic matter in sedimentary rocks is in the form of kerogen: complex polymeric material that is insoluble in inorganic solvents, and difficult to analyse chemically.
- These indices are independent of the organic matter abundance and strongly related to the elemental composition of kerogen.
- It should be mentioned that the bulk of reduced carbon on Earth is sediment-bound kerogen, which most probably is of biological origin.
Early 20th century: from Greek kēros 'wax' + -gen.
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