Analysis of organic biomarkers in single Precambrian oil-bearing fluid inclusions using ToF-SIMS

Sandra Siljeström, Jukka Lausma, Herbert Volk, Simon George, Peter Sjövall, Adriana Dutkiewicz, Tomas Hode

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


    Organic biomarkers are valuable sources of information on the biodiversity and environment of early Earth. However, with organic biomarkers, especially in old samples, there are often problems of syngeneity and many of the most ancient biomarkers are suspected of being younger contamination. A type of sample where biomarkers are better constrained in the rock is oil-bearing fluid inclusions, especially if single inclusions can be analysed. However, most inclusions, including Precambrian oil-bearing fluid inclusions are so small (less than 10 mu m) that analyzing single ones with conventional techniques is not possible. Therefore, we have developed an approach employing time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to selectively open individual oil-bearing inclusions by C (sub 60) (super +) ion etching, and to subsequently analyse their content. Using this approach steranes and hopanes could be detected in single Ordovician oil-bearing inclusions (15-30 mu m) from the Siljan impact structure in Sweden. Now the developed approach has been applied on Precambrian samples. Four different oil-bearing fluid inclusions trapped in a 1.43 Ga sandstone from the Roper Superbasin in Australia were opened and analysed with ToF-SIMS. The ToF-SIMS spectra of the oil in the different inclusions were similar to each other indicating that the same oil was trapped in all inclusions. In addition, the ToF-SIMS spectra contained peaks that could be assigned to alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatic moities, steranes and hopanes. With further development and if applied on other Precambrain samples this approach could help answering questions regarding early evolution of life on Earth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1874
    Number of pages1
    JournalMineralogical Magazine
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventGoldschmidt Conference (21st : 2011) - Prague, Czech Republic
    Duration: 14 Aug 201119 Aug 2011


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