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Reconstructing the palaeoecosystem and palaeodepositional environment within the Upper Devonian–Lower Mississippian Bakken Formation: A biomarker approach

Aderoju, Titilade, Bend, Stephen
Organic geochemistry 2018 v.119 pp. 91-100
Mississippian period, biocenosis, biomarkers, oils, organic matter, paleoecology
Biomarkers have been used extensively to correlate oil families, oil–source rock relationships and source inputs, and to help identify the palaeodepositional environment for a given geological sedimentary unit. Despite their application in characterising the Bakken Formation shales, a number of biomarkers still appear unable to provide us a consistent understanding regarding heterogeneity in source organic matter and palaeoenvironment. Here, we infer the palaeodepositional environment within the Bakken Formation shales using a biomarker suite and biomarker depth profiles. We also use the occurrence and abundance of biomarkers to define organic facies and to make inferences regarding biotic interactions drawn from modern analogues. The variations and co-occurrence of biomarkers is explained by the existence of a proposed complex algal–bacterium–bacteriovore palaeoecosystem. This approach not only helps explain the depth variation in occurrence and concentration of biomarkers and the molecular composition of associated organic matter, but also advances the use of biomarker analysis and biomarker associations to determine a complex environment-sensitive palaeoecosystem.