This study presents an integrated investigation of the Upper Triassic Potrerillos – Cacheuta lacustrine source rock in the Cuyo Basin of western Argentina. Data came from palynofacies analyses, organic petrography, Rock‐Eval pyrolysis and mineralogical studies based on X‐ray diffraction analyses. An 80 m thick outcrop section was studied and is interpreted to represent the transition from shallow‐lacustrine sediments influenced by fluvial discharges (uppermost Potrerillos Formation) to the deposits of a deep, permanent lake (Cacheuta Formation). Three palynofacies were defined. Palynofacies I is characterized by shallowing‐upward cycles with abundant woody material, and was deposited under an oxic, disturbed water column. Palynofacies II and III occur in laminated shales rich in amorphous organic matter (AOM) and freshwater algal material (Botryococcus) respectively, which were deposited under oxygen‐depleted conditions. In general, the detrital material present suggests an input derived from fluvial discharges; however, interbedded tuffs altered to analcime and smectite suggest the transformation of vitric material in pyroclastic ash under saline to alkaline water conditions. Kerogen Types II/III and III with high total organic carbon values indicate a moderate oil‐ and gas‐prone source rock whose thermal maturity varies from immature to the early oil window (Tmax: 430‐438 °C; vitrinite reflectance: 0.59‐0.67 % VRo; and thermal alteration index: 2‐2+).This study demonstrates the importance of palynofacies analyses for the interpretation of depositional changes and associated controls in lacustrine shale successions. When integrated with data from organic geochemistry, palynofacies analysis is an important tool in the evaluation of a source rock's thermal maturity and hydrocarbon generation potential.

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