Indexed on: 30 Apr '18Published on: 15 Apr '18Published in: Organic Geochemistry
Publication date: Available online 21 March 2018 Source:Organic Geochemistry Author(s): Kaixi Jiang, Chunming Lin, Xia Zhang, Chunfang Cai, Fei Xiao, Wenxiang He, Li Peng This study examines the abundance and distribution of MTTCs and biomarker compositions in samples of MTTC-rich sediments obtained from Paleogene strata in the Bohai Bay, Jianghan and Western Qaidam Basins in China. Biomarker signatures, including high C35/C34 hopane ratios, high gammacerane index values, low pristane/phytane (Pr/Ph) ratios and the presence of aryl isoprenoids, indicate saline lacustrine settings and photic zone euxinia (PZE). The distributions of MTTCs indicate significant palaeosalinity differences in the depositional environments of the three sets of samples obtained from the Bohai Bay, Jianghan and Western Qaidam Basins. These sets of samples were deposited under normal to mesosaline, meso- to hypersaline and hypersaline environments, respectively. The δ-MTTC% values are positively correlated with the values of the gammacerane index, but are negatively correlated with the Pr/Ph ratios. This result demonstrates that MTTCs do not form in the upper or lower parts of stratified water columns, but may form in the euxinic portions of photic zones. Therefore, MTTC parameters can only be used to reconstruct palaeosalinity in the euxinic portions of photic zones and are not applicable to the upper or lower parts of stratified water columns. This paper infers that variations in palaeosalinity in the euxinic portions of photic zones likely play a key role in controlling the distribution and abundance of MTTCs.