Geochemistry of C25 and C30 biogenic alkenes in sediments of the narragansett bay estuary

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The distributions of a series of structurally related C25 and C30 biogenic alkenes in sediments of the Narragansett Bay estuary have been determined. The suite of alkenes detected differs both quantitatively and qualitatively from those previously reported in other estuanne and coastal regions. Four C25 mono- and dienes and one C30 diene comprise 73-91% of the total alkenes in all surface (upper 2.5-5 cm) sediments analyzed. However, significant geographic variations exist in the relative abundance of these five compounds throughout the estuary. A comparison of alkene concentrations with δ13C of the bulk sedimentary organic matter has shown that the geographic variations of some alkenes reflect the distribution of marine organic matter, suggesting a marine source for these compounds. The distributions of other alkenes are not similarly correlated. In particular, concentrations of the C30 diene are relatively constant and exhibit no dependence on the origin of organic matter in these sediments. This distribution implies an in situ production of this alkene throughout the estuary. Analysis of several sediment cores reveals that alkene concentrations are generally highest at the surface and decrease to low, constant values within the upper 25 cm. An exception is the subsurface concentration of one C25 diene, which exhibits an increase at the same depth in two separate upper bay cores. © 1983.

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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta