Distribution and significance of novel low molecular weight sterenes in an immature evaporitic sediment from the Jinxian Sag, North China
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An unusual series Of C-22-C-27 monounsaturated sterenes and C-24-C-30 tetracyclic terpanes (17,21-secohopanes) were detected in relatively high concentrations in an immature evaporitic marl sediment of the Jinxian Sag, Bohai Bay Basin, North China. The site of unsaturation in these novel sterenes is assigned tentatively to the D ring on the basis of mass spectral interpretation, which also distinguishes them from reported unsaturated sterenes. Other hydrocarbon biomarker or stable isotope haracteristics are indicative of microbial (e.g. methyl hopanes), phytoplankton or higher plant (depleted delta C-13 values of isoprenoids and hopanes) inputs and an anoxic carbonate depositional environment exacyclic hopanes; tetracyclic terpanes). The hydrocarbon composition showed no obvious biodegradation and the relatively high concentration of unsaturated terpenoids (e.g. gammacerene) and low values of other established maturity parameters (T-s/T-m = 0.23; R-o = 0.44%: T-max = 417 degrees C), are consistent with sediments of low maturity. The novel, low molecular weight sterenes and the tetracyclic terpanes may be early diagenetic products of microbial sources in a carbonate environment.
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