The nature and fate of natural resins in the geosphere XIII

a probable pinaceous resin from the early Cretaceous (Barremian), Isle of Wight

P. Sargent Bray, Ken B. Anderson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Terpenoid resin is produced by all families and most genera of the order Coniferales (the conifers), and the distribution of terpenes present in most conifer resins is characteristic of the originating family. Analyses of early Cretaceous (Barremian) amber (fossil resin) from the English Wealden, Isle of Wight, southern England, by pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS), indicate a terpene distribution dominated by abietane- and labdane-type terpenes. Similar distributions are observed in some species of the extant family Pinaceae. The Pinaceae are well represented within the Wealden deposits of southern England, by only one (known) species, Pityites solmsii (Seward) Seward, whereas the macro-fossil record of these deposits is dominated by the extinct conifer family Cheirolepidiaceae, for which no resin chemistry has been reported. By analogy with modern materials, it is probable that the ambers found in these deposits are derived from an extinct member of the Pinaceae, but given the absence of evidence concerning the chemotaxonomy of the Cheirolepidiaceae, this family cannot be excluded a priori as a possible paleobotanical source. These ambers may therefore be assigned to either the Pinaceae or to the Cheirolepidiaceae. These samples are the oldest ambers to date to yield useful chemotaxonomic data.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3
    JournalGeochemical Transactions
    Volume9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2008

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