Fluorescence is commonly used in the oil field for the detection of crude oil and in environmental applications for the detection of refined oils. Spurious fluorescence from minerals can interfere with desired detection. Here, we characterize the fluorescence from limestones in order to understand the origin of limestone fluorescence, in particular to compare and contrast it with other naturally occurring fluorescence. The fluorescence spectra, intensities, and lifetimes of six limestones, ranging in origin and thermal maturity, have been investigated with excitation wavelengths ranging from the ultraviolet through the visible and into the near-infrared. These limestones exhibit fluorescence spectra that are shown to be quite similar to those of crude oils, bitumens, and kerogens. This work strongly supports the conclusion that the fluorescence of limestones is organic in origin. Therefore, differentiation of limestone fluorescence from fluorescence of other organics must be accomplished by using known systematic trends of the fluorescence of naturally occurring organics.
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