Biomarker signatures of Upper Cretaceous Latrobe Group petroleum source rocks, Gippsland Basin, Australia

distribution and geological significance of aromatic hydrocarbons

Lian Jiang*, Simon C. George

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Aromatic hydrocarbons extracted from Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian and Campanian) Latrobe Group coaly shales and shales from the Gippsland Basin were investigated by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. A variety of 2-ring to 6-ring aromatic hydrocarbons were identified, including both higher-plant-derived and combustion-derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These aromatic compounds indicate that the Upper Cretaceous coaly shales and shales were deposited in a fluvial/deltaic environment with significant higher plant input and are at a relatively low thermal maturity stage. Higher plant parameters and angiosperm/gymnosperm indices based on aromatic components suggest that higher land plants, including both angiosperms and gymnosperms, were an important part of the palaeovegetation in the Upper Cretaceous. The aromatic angiosperm/gymnosperm index that includes chrysene- and picene-type PAHs is not as reliable for evaluation of relative angiosperm and gymnosperm contributions as the aliphatic indices due to input of combustion-derived PAHs and the complexity of burning conditions altering the relative contributions. However, combustion-derived PAHs and aromatic angiosperm/gymnosperm indices supplement the information from aliphatic hydrocarbons and provide further evidence to support the hypothesis that palaeoclimate cooled from the Campanian to the Maastrichtian.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103905
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Gippsland Basin
  • Upper Cretaceous
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Angiosperm/gymnosperm index
  • Source rock

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