Variability in biomarkers of different saline basins in China

Research paper by Ruiliang Wang, Jiamo Fu

Indexed on: 01 Mar '97Published on: 01 Mar '97Published in: International Journal of Salt Lake Research


42 samples (sediments and crude oils) from 5 different saline/hypersaline basins of China were examined using variety of geochemical techniques. A pronounced even over odd distribution ofn-alkanes is observed for the Ejinur, Jianghan samples. Abundance of isoprenoid alkanes, dominated by phytane (C20 up to 20 per cent in EOM), and C25 and C30 components is another outstanding feature of these studied lacustrine hypersaline settings, indicating important contributuions from archaebacteria. Gammacerane is a major component of some Eocene Jiangham samples and Cretaceous Taian sediments. Absolute concentration of phytane and gammacerane appears to be linearly related to chlorine and residual (reduced) sulfur contents of sediments from Jianghan basin, suggesting sulfur incoporation might have played an important role in the enhacement of these biomarkers in the anoxic hypersaline, alkaline settings. Wide range of organic sulfur compounds in immature samples of Jianghan Basin reflects a significant pathway for sulfur incorporation under hypersaline, extremely anoxic/reducing conditions, although for some structures a direct origin from some sulfur archaebacteria can not be excluded. Brackish salt marsh sediment and oil from Lenghu depression contain abundant lupane, strong OEP inn-alkane series, and predominance of C29 steranes, suggesting a markedly input from vascular higher plants. The marginal marine evaporate sediments from the hypersaline Triassic Yangtze Platform is unique for its predominant, complete series of isoprenoid alkanes up to C36 (abundant) and C40 (trace). These long-chain isoprenoids are probably derived from phytoplanktons in addition to archaebacteria. The marked difference in biomarker distributions from the various suites of samples support that application of these biomarkers to help effectively characterize different saline basins. The molecular variation is, however, not only due to their discrepancy in biological sources, but also the extension of sulfate reduction and the availability of metal ions during early diagenesis.