Complex mixture of compounds with large molecules containing mainly hydrogen and carbon but also oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. Kerogen is a precursor of petroleum and the organic component of oil shales. It is waxy and insoluble in water; upon heating, it breaks down into recoverable gaseous and liquid substances resembling petroleum. It is the most abundant form of organic carbon on Earth—about 1000 times more abundant than coal. Types of Kerogen (e.g. I, II, III, or IV) are defined by the hydrogen-to-carbon and oxygen-to-carbon ratios in its

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