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Hydrocarbons in sediment of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

February 3, 1990

Heavy hydrocarbons (about C15+) are ubiquitous but minor components in sediment from three sites (692, 693, and 694) drilled during Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 113. This preliminary report is the first to describe the distribution of some of these hydrocarbons in sediment of the Weddell Sea. Samples from Sites 692 and 693, located on a mid-slope bench along the margin of Queen Maud Land, span a time interval from Early Cretaceous to Pleistocene. In samples from the Tertiary portion of the record, having an average organic-carbon content of about 0.2%, n-alkanes are common and are characterized by populations that indicate both marine and terrigenous sources. In contrast, samples from the Cretaceous portion of the record, having an average organic carbon content of about 4%, contain mixtures of hydrocarbons in which n-alkanes are secondary in abundance to the isoprenoid hydrocarbons, pristane and phytane. Diasterenes, sterenes, and hopenes are present in anomalously high concentrations and indicate immaturity. The Cretaceous hydrocarbons appear to be mainly primary, whereas the Tertiary hydrocarbons contain compounds which indicate that the sediment, along with its organic content, has been recycled. Samples from Site 694, located in the Weddell Sea on the abyssal plain, range in age from late Miocene to early Pliocene. 

Publication Year 1990
Title Hydrocarbons in sediment of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica
DOI 10.2973/
Authors Keith A. Kvenvolden, Frances D. Hostettler, Tamara Frank
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program: Scientific Results
Index ID 70208307
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse