The color of refractory organic carbon

Abstract : Organic matter studies find an echo within different topics such as biogeochemical cycles, processes occurring in continental surfaces, anthropogenic activities, climate science, earth and planetary sciences, etc. Today's challenges include finding and developing the most appropriate method(s) supporting the differentiation and characterisation of various types of recalcitrant organic matter in modern environments. In this study, we focus on combustion residues and coals as these two types of organic matter contain a significant amount of so-called recalcitrant organic carbon (black carbon and fossil organic carbon). Both these materials are ubiquitous, broadly stem from the same living organisms and have similar polyaromatic structures. In this respect, we tested a spectrophotometry method, classically used for sedimentology, as a very fast method for preliminary investigations. Analyses were performed with a wide range of standards and referenced samples. The results discriminate three different spectral signatures related to the degree of transformation of organic matter related to the degree of aromaticity (i.e. carbonisation). Using calibration curves, total organic carbon content can be estimated in experimental mixes with mineral matter and in a real context using subsurface sample (Gironville 101 borehole, Paris Basin, France). This method has particularly high sensitivity to very low organic matter content and is shown to be promising for a rapid evaluation of the organic carbon content.
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Maxime Debret, Yoann Copard, Antonin van Exem, Geneviève Bessereau, Frank Haeseler, et al.. The color of refractory organic carbon. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, Société géologique de France, 2018, 189 (2), pp.9. ⟨10.1051/bsgf/2018008⟩. ⟨insu-01806459⟩

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