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Biodegradation of seep oils in the Wessex Basin - a complication for correlation

Lookup NU author(s): Michael Bigge, Dr Paul Farrimond


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This paper is part of the special publication Development, evolution and petroleum geology of the Wessex Basin (ed J.R. Underhill). A detailed organic geochemical investigation of seep oils from the Dorset coast has revealed notable variation in both the extent and pathways of biodegradation. All the seep samples analysed from Mupe Bay, Stair Hole (near Lulworth Cove) and Osmington Mills have had their n-alkanes and acyclic isoprenoid alkanes removed, but some samples are more extensively degraded, with partial loss of steranes and/or hopanes. At Mupe Bay (conglomerate matrix samples; see Parfitt and Farrimond 1997 this volume) the hopanes have been preferentially attacked, whilst at Stair Hole the steranes appear heavily degraded although there has been no alteration to the hopane distribution. 25-Norhopanes were not detected in any of the samples. Biological marker distributions of seep oils which have suffered no hopane or sterane biodegradation are compared with those of three reservoired oils from the area (Wytch Farm and Kimmeridge fields). Molecular parameters indicate significant variation in source rock facies and maturity within the oils of the Wessex Basin.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bigge MA, Farrimond P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Year: 1998

Volume: 133

Pages: 373-386

Print publication date: 01/01/1998

ISSN (print): 0305-8719

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Geological Society of London


DOI: 10.1144/GSL.SP.1998.133.01.19


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