1. n. [Geology]
A naturally occurring organic compound comprising hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons can be as simple as methane [CH4], but many are highly complex molecules, and can occur as gases, liquids or solids. The molecules can have the shape of chains, branching chains, rings or other structures. Petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. The most common hydrocarbons are natural gas, oil and coal.
See: asphalt, bitumen, crude oil, dry gas, field, gas-prone, generation, geochemistry, hydrocarbon kitchen, kerogen, maturity, natural gas, oil field, oil-prone, overmature, pay, play, postmature, preservation, prospect, reservoir, retrograde condensation, secondary migration, sedimentary basin, source rock, stratigraphic trap, tar sand, wet gas