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Comparison of vitrified and unvitrified Eocene woody tissues by TMAH thermochemolysis – implications for the early stages of the formation of vitrinite

Author(s): Kaelin Paul | Huggett William | Anderson Ken

Journal: Geochemical Transactions
ISSN 1467-4866

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 9;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Samples of vitrified and unvitrified Eocene woody plant tissues collected from the Fossil Forest site, Geodetic Hills, Axel Heiberg Island, have been characterized by TMAH thermochemolysis. All samples are gymnosperm-derived, are of very low maturity and all share the same post-depositional geologic history. Differences in the distributions of products observed from vitrified and unvitrified samples suggest that vitrification of woody tissue is associated with modification of the lignin C3 side chain, following loss of all or most of the carbohydrate present in the precursor woody tissues. The key driver of vitrification appears to be physical compression of the tissue following biological removal of cellulosic materials.
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