Sedimentary hydrocarbons, biomarkers for early life

J. J. Brocks*, R. E. Summons

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Molecular biological markers, or biomarkers, are natural products that can be assigned to a particular biosynthetic origin. For environmental and geological studies, the most useful molecular biomarkers are organic compounds with high taxonomic specificity and potential for preservation. This chapter introduces some of the general principles, provides examples of their use for discerning the identities and physiologies of microbes in contemporary environments and summarizes biomarker research aimed at elucidating aspects of biological and environmental evolution in the Precambrian.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTreatise on geochemistry: second edition
    EditorsHeinrich Holland, Karl Turekian
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam, Netherlands
    Number of pages43
    ISBN (Electronic)9780080983004
    ISBN (Print)9780080959757
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


    • Age diagnostic
    • Ancient biospheres
    • Biomarkers
    • Environmental indicators
    • Hydrocarbon class
    • Kerogen analysis
    • Maturity
    • Molecular fossils
    • Pre-cambrian rocks
    • Thermal stability


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