Publications by authors named "Nathalie V Grassineau"

3 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Geochemical evidence for combustion of hydrocarbons during the K-T impact event.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009 Mar 26;106(11):4112-7. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, United Kingdom.

It has been proposed that extensive wildfires occurred after the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) impact event. An abundance of soot and pyrosynthetic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAHs) in marine K-T boundary impact rocks (BIRs) have been considered support for this hypothesis. However, nonmarine K-T BIRs, from across North America, contain only rare occurrences of charcoal yet abundant noncharred plant remains. pPAHs and soot can be formed from a variety of sources, including partial combustion of vegetation and hydrocarbons whereby modern pPAH signatures are traceable to their source. We present results from multiple nonmarine K-T boundary sites from North America and reveal that the K-T BIRs have a pPAH signature consistent with the combustion of hydrocarbons and not living plant biomass, providing further evidence against K-T wildfires and compelling evidence that a significant volume of hydrocarbons was combusted during the K-T impact event.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0813117106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657452PMC
March 2009

Increased terrestrial methane cycling at the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum.

Nature 2007 Sep;449(7160):332-5

Organic Geochemistry Unit, Bristol Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Cantock's Close, Bristol BS8 1TS, UK.

The Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), a period of intense, global warming about 55 million years ago, has been attributed to a rapid rise in greenhouse gas levels, with dissociation of methane hydrates being the most commonly invoked explanation. It has been suggested previously that high-latitude methane emissions from terrestrial environments could have enhanced the warming effect, but direct evidence for an increased methane flux from wetlands is lacking. The Cobham Lignite, a recently characterized expanded lacustrine/mire deposit in England, spans the onset of the PETM and therefore provides an opportunity to examine the biogeochemical response of wetland-type ecosystems at that time. Here we report the occurrence of hopanoids, biomarkers derived from bacteria, in the mire sediments from Cobham. We measure a decrease in the carbon isotope values of the hopanoids at the onset of the PETM interval, which suggests an increase in the methanotroph population. We propose that this reflects an increase in methane production potentially driven by changes to a warmer and wetter climate. Our data suggest that the release of methane from the terrestrial biosphere increased and possibly acted as a positive feedback mechanism to global warming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature06012DOI Listing
September 2007

Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils.

Nature 2002 Mar;416(6876):76-81

Earth Sciences Department, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PR, UK.

Structures resembling remarkably preserved bacterial and cyanobacterial microfossils from about 3,465-million-year-old Apex cherts of the Warrawoona Group in Western Australia currently provide the oldest morphological evidence for life on Earth and have been taken to support an early beginning for oxygen-producing photosynthesis. Eleven species of filamentous prokaryote, distinguished by shape and geometry, have been put forward as meeting the criteria required of authentic Archaean microfossils, and contrast with other microfossils dismissed as either unreliable or unreproducible. These structures are nearly a billion years older than putative cyanobacterial biomarkers, genomic arguments for cyanobacteria, an oxygenic atmosphere and any comparably diverse suite of microfossils. Here we report new research on the type and re-collected material, involving mapping, optical and electron microscopy, digital image analysis, micro-Raman spectroscopy and other geochemical techniques. We reinterpret the purported microfossil-like structure as secondary artefacts formed from amorphous graphite within multiple generations of metalliferous hydrothermal vein chert and volcanic glass. Although there is no support for primary biological morphology, a Fischer--Tropsch-type synthesis of carbon compounds and carbon isotopic fractionation is inferred for one of the oldest known hydrothermal systems on Earth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/416076aDOI Listing
March 2002