Extraction of organic signatures from carbonates and evaporites: from mineral deposits to Mars

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Abstract

The measurement of organic matter in carbonates and evaporites is of value to both the petroleum and minerals industries and has future potential during planetary exploration. Bulk analyses provide basic information on thermal maturity and hydrocarbon prospectivity. Specific analysis of hydrocarbon gases is also related to thermal maturity and has been shown to exhibit patterns related to the distribution of ore mineralization.

More advanced analyses rely on extracting hydrocarbons from oil fluid inclusions, which allows the integration of geochemical data with petrography, especially where individual inclusions can be analysed. Data from distinct populations of inclusions can highlight changes in geochemistry with time from a single sample. The extraction of organic molecules from aqueous inclusion fluids will be much more difficult technically but, if achieved, could help to obtain biomolecular data from early Earth samples and from samples retrieved from other planets. This will require very high resolution techniques, including the application of biotechnology to geological samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Volume116
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • biomolecules
  • evaporites
  • Mars
  • mineral deposits
  • mineral exploration
  • organic matter
  • BEARING FLUID INCLUSIONS
  • ION MASS-SPECTROMETRY
  • MARTIAN METEORITES
  • LIGHT-HYDROCARBONS
  • MERIDIANI-PLANUM
  • NORTH-SEA
  • OIL
  • BASIN
  • SALT
  • SPECTROSCOPY

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