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Identification of bacterial fossils in marine source rocks in South China

Abstract

Based on the results of conventional geochemistry analysis including thin sections and SEM observations, different shapes of bacterial fossils, with size ranging from dozens of nanometers to several microns, were discovered in the low-mature marine source rocks and coal seams in South China, of which the Permian source rocks were dominated by the bacterial fossils derived from symbiotic sulphur bacteria with gypsum, and the Chengkou section in the Cambrian strata were occupied by abundant nanoscale bacterial fossils with rod and bar shapes. In contrast, a large quantity of possible bacterial fossils found in the high-mature Permian, Silurian, and Cambrian source rocks using SEM need to be further explored. Despite this, this study has indicated that bacterial fossils were prevalent in the source rocks, such as mudstone, siliceous rock and gypsum-bearing coal seams in South China, which has been ignored before. It also suggests that the bacterial fossils may play an important role in the formation and accumulation of shale gas in the geological history.

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Acknowledgement

This work was supported by Petrochemical Fund (B) for “Research on the effect of gas containing indigenous organic matter in the Paleozoic shale” (No. U1663202).

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Correspondence to Baojian Shen.

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Shen, B., Qin, J., Tenger, B. et al. Identification of bacterial fossils in marine source rocks in South China. Acta Geochim 37, 68–79 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11631-017-0209-8

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Keywords

  • South China
  • Excellent marine source rocks
  • Bacterial fossil
  • Sedimentary environment