Description / Table of Contents:
PREFACE The four-year period of activity of the Groupement de Recherche 942 (GDR) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) came to an end in December 1993. This GDR was a scientific association grouping research teams from the academic sphere -- i.e. the Unités de Recherches Associées 723 & 724 of the CNRS as well as the Universities of Orléans and Paris-Sud -- and from the industrial world: Elf-Aquitaine Production, TOTAL and the Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP). The aim of the GDR was to understand the processes and the causes of organic carbon fossilization in sediments, especially when they can be modified by environmental conditions such as climate, eustatism, productivity etc., factors which can alko interact. This goal implies the simultaneous study of ancient geological formations (hydrocarbon source rocks from the famous Kimmeridge Clay Formation) and recent Quaternary sediments (the Lac du Bouchet or lake Bouchet maar, Massif Central, France). In the latter case, we benefit from a fine-scale stratigraphical framework as well as a reliable reconstruction of the local and regional environment. This volume is a collection of papers representing oral presentations given on December 7, 1993, at the Société Géologique de France in Paris, during the final meeting of the GDR. These articles thus report the latest developments of the studies carried out under the GDR. However, this is not the first publication of our results, which can be found in the papers referred to in each article. The Kimmeridge Clay Formation was previously studied in 1987, by the Yorkim Group from IFP, Elf-Aquitaine and the British Geological Survey, on the basis of a series of wells drilled across the Cleveland Basin of Yorkshire. In each well, the distribution with depth of the total organic content is cyclic. We have compared some of the organic cycles from two wells (Matron and Ebberston) based on mineralogy, organic and inorganic geochemistry and petrography, at a high resolution scale (centimetric). The main conclusion of this work is that the driving force for organic matter accumulation in the studied cycles was organic phytoplankton productivity. Oxygenation conditions seem to have played a secondary role as a positive feedback action enhancing organic matter storage. Lac du Bouchet is located on the Devès volcanic plateau, 15 km SW of Le Puy en Velay, at an altitude of 1205 m. The depth of the water column is 28 m. The lake has a subcircular shape (1 km in diameter) and a very restricted watershed. This site is exceptionally suitable for research on climate variations and palaeomagnetic field modifications (Euromaars EC Program). The GDR focused on sedimentary organic matter and its relationship to inorganic phases. An important result is that organic matter appears to be a good indicator of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions for over 350 000 years. In addition, the study of early diagenetic reactions in surficial sediments (porewater and solid phase) allows the specification of the processes of organic matter degradation and storage in such an oligothrophic lake.
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