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Sedimentary Organic Matter: Organic Facies and Palynofacies.

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Tyson


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Foreword. This book is intended to be a comprehensive interdisciplinary synthesis of information on the origin, early diagenesis, character, distribution, and bulk geochemical composition of sedimentary organic matter. Although I cannot disguise the fact that the book has been written primarily for a geological audience, I have tried to approach these topics in a way which I hope may also appeal to the wider range of earth and environmental scientists with actual or potential interests in modern or ancient sedimentary organic matter. The level of the book is aimed at postgraduate students and at professional scientists in both academia and industry. The book is organised around the discussion of processes, mechanisms, and the nature and distribution of particular organic components, rather than different depositional environments or specific case histories. I believe this approach is more flexible and provides a better overview of the underlying principles. The book could have been organised in many different, but arguably logical, ways; I have opted to organise it on a scientific, rather than a discipline basis, and thus to consider the general principles governing the distribution of organic matter in sediments before the specific factors relating to individual organic components. Chapters 2 to 6 thus deal with general aspects of the character, production, diagenesis, and distribution of organic carbon in sediments. Chapters 7 to 11 then go on to deal largely with descriptive information on the biological origin and nature of various specific components of particulate organic matter; Chapters 12 to 19 then deal with information concerning the physical and ecological controls on their distribution in modern and ancient sediments. Following this background, the next few chapters consider the different methods and criteria used in classifying organic matter in sediments. Chapter 20 reviews and discusses the issue of optical (palynological) classification of particulate organic matter in sediments. Chapters 21 to 23 review the most common bulk geochemical methods for characterising and classifying the organic matter in sediments, with the deliberate intention of demonstrating the value, if not necessity, of integrating this data with microscopy-based information. Chapter 24 briefly examines the relationship between palynofacies and sequence stratigraphy. Chapter 25 considers some methodological and practical questions related to the palaeoenvironmental interpretation of palynofacies data. *Most of the emphasis of the book is on marine environments, but specific aspects of lacustrine settings are also dealt with in some detail. As this book is not intended for ‘beginners’, I have not attempted to explain all the basic concepts and terms which have been assimilated from different disciplines. However, I have taken a comprehensive approach to referencing in the hope that readers will find this a useful source book to help locate the specific and background information that they may seek. As part of this policy, I have referenced published works down to the individual page number, unless the work is referred to in its entirety. As the study of sedimentary organic matter is such a multidisciplinary pursuit, the relevant data is scattered through the literature of many different fields and is currently being produced at a rate of well over 150 relevant publications every year. I hope the extensive bibliography will provide some useful shortcuts for those wishing to read outside their own specialist areas, but this book is not meant to be an alternative to reading the primary sources. I have deliberately avoided ‘formal’ coverage of some subject areas, mostly for the sake of brevity, or because of the prior existence of adequate texts or reviews. These areas include terrestrial Quaternary palynology, taxonomic palaeopalynology, palynological and petrological preparation techniques, coal petrology, organic maturation, general organic geochemistry, and general palaeobotany. It is perhaps inevitable that the more one attempts to be comprehensive, the more one can be simultaneously accused of having written too much and of having left out or ‘glossed over’ other people's favourite topics! Hopefully, however, there is something here for everyone interested in sedimentary organic matter. This book was written mainly because I perceived the need for a comprehensive single-author volume that would lay down a solid foundation of data and concepts that could then be built upon in subsequent studies. I also wanted to try and breakdown the largely artificial barriers that exist between the diverse group of scientists interested in sedimentary organic matter. Consequently, this book was not written specifically for palynologists, organic petrologists or organic geochemists, but for those who seek a broad understanding of sedimentary organic matter that is not constrained by single-discipline perspectives. I also hope that this work may indirectly help to promote the wider use of the palynofacies technique within the earth sciences, especially in combination with bulk geochemical studies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tyson RV

Publication type: Authored Book

Publication status: Published

Year: 1995

Number of Pages: 615

Print publication date: 01/12/1994

Publisher: Chapman & Hall

Place Published: London

Notes: Publisher now Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 041236350X