Of all the particles in a sedimentary basin, organics are arguably the most insightful.
Think about it: they tell you how hot things got, millions and millions of years ago, and that is both within the basin at depth but also at the surface when they were deposited; they tell you what plants were evolving; they give you the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen that were in the atmosphere in deep time; they can tell you how deep the water was and if it was rising or lowering; they tell you what kinds of volcanoes were around at the time; they give clues to what the basinal brines were as burial progressed; they indicate how fast or slow a basin was subsiding.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg, as they say, or should I say organicberg.
This is the first year that The Society for Organic Petrology will hold its annual conference totally online and there will no doubt be some fantastic talks. My own involvement in the meeting runs from interpreting Early Cretaceous ecology in Inner Mongolia just as angiosperms were evolving (Wheeler et al., 2021); characterizing the paleomires of the Late Cretaceous in Colombia, just before the asteroid collision (Moore et al., 2021); and looking at critical element distribution in Permian paleomires in northern China to enable advancement for renewable energy and keep our beloved smart phones doing a different kind of evolving (Sun et al., 2021).
If you like the sound of any of those talks there are many more like them, and also others on all topics of how organics go through their geological journal. Check out http://www.tsop2021.org to find out more and register to join the virtual conference.
Hope to see you there!
Moore, T.A., Dai, S., Esterle, J.S., Huguet, C., Jia, R., Liu, J., Pearce, J., 2021. Preliminary study of selected Late Cretaceous – Paleocene paleomires in the Guaduas Formation, Colombia, 37th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology, Virtual, 3 pp.
Sun, B., Zeng, F., Moore, T.A., 2021. Lithium, other trace elements and REE occurrence in selected coal seams from the Pennsylvanian-age Taiyuan Formation, Shanxi Province, China, 37th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology, Virtual, 3 pp.
Wheeler, A., Moore, T.A., Shen, J., Moroeng, O.M., Liu, J., Jia, R., Chen, K., Zhang, Y., 2021. Composition of an Early Cretaceous, Eurasian, intracratonic basin peat-forming flora: Deep time assessment of climatic and environmental conditions, Inner Mongolia, China, 37th Annual Meeting of The Society for Organic Petrology. TSOP, Virtual, 3pp.