Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Emmanuelle J. Javaux
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_197-4


Bitumen is the fraction of fossil organic matter in sedimentary rocks that is soluble in organic solvents (such as dichloromethane, hexanes, and methanol). It is a brown to black, highly viscous material that includes diverse organic macromolecules and chemical biomarkers. Bitumen is a component in petroleum.

See Also


Organic Matter Organic Solvent Bioorganic Chemistry Sedimentary Rock Viscous Material 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geology Department, Palaeobiogeology-Palaeobotany-PalaeopalynologyUniversity of LiègeSart-Tilman LiègeBelgium