Laminated organic-rich shales are interbedded at a scale of centimeters to a few meters with bioturbated organic-poor mudstones or limestones in some fine-grained marine sequences. We have analyzed the organic matter in pairs of laminated/bioturbated interbeds from Cretaceous and Devonian rocks deposited in epicontinental and oceanic settings for the purpose of studying the influence of depositional and early diagenetic environment on the organic geochemical properties of marine shales. Results of these analyses indicate that for rocks that are still in a diagenetic stage of thermal alteration, the relative abundance of biomarker compounds and specific biomarker indices can be useful indicators of depositional and early diagenetic conditions. Pristane/phytane ratios are generally highest for laminated rocks from epicontinental basins and appear to reflect the input of isoprenoid precursors more than oxygenated versus anoxic depositional conditions. The thermally immature laminated rocks are characterized by relatively high contents of 17??(H), 21??(H)-hopanes, hopenes, sterenes and diasterenes, and by strong predominance of the 22R over 22S homohopane isomers. Thermally immature bioturbated samples are characterized by absence of the ??,??-hopanes, by low contents of both saturated and unsaturated polycyclic hydrocarbons, and by slight or no predominance of the 22R over 22S homohopane isomers. There are less obvious compositional differences between the saturated hydrocarbons in the laminated and bioturbated units from the thermally mature sequences. For both the thermally mature and immature laminated samples, the degree of isomerization at the 22C position for hopanes and at the 20C position for steranes is generally consistent with the degree of thermal maturity interpreted from other properties of the organic matter. The bioturbated samples, however, exhibit inconsistent and anomalously high degrees of isomerization for the homohopanes, resulting either from reworking and oxidation of the primary organic matter or from the presence of older recycled organic matter. ?? 1986.
Additional publication details
Geochemical imprint of depositional conditions on organic matter in laminated-Bioturbated interbeds from fine-grained marine sequences