Organic Geochemistry

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Although organic geochemistry is a relatively young branch of the geosciences, it is characterized by its broad spectrum of tasks and is an important instrument in the study of the geobiosphere.

After natural or anthropogenically produced biogenic products have been released into the environment, they partially transfer from the biosphere into the geosphere, often via the hydro- and atmosphere. Organic geochemistry studies the different chemical reactions of the organic material as it passes into the subsurface. Microbial activity and the physical and chemical conditions of the environment (temperature, pressure, alkalinity, redox potential, etc.) are decisive for the processes and chemical reactions occurring during diagenesis. Hereby, specific molecular structures are retained or newly formed according to prevailing environmental conditions. Diagenetic processes create biomarkers, which can be used to interpret the conditions of formation and allow conclusions to be drawn about the origin of the organic material.

Organic geochemistry covers the following areas: petroleum geochemistry, reconstruction of fossil environments, organic evolution and environment-contamination studies.