Organic Geochemistry

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organic geochemistry

[ȯr′gan·ik ‚jē·ō′kem·ə·strē]
A branch of geochemistry which deals with naturally occurring carbonaceous and biologically derived substances which are of geological interest.

Organic Geochemistry


a division of geochemistry that studies organic matter in the various geospheres of the earth.

The task of organic geochemistry includes examination of the evolution of organic compounds (hydrocarbons and their derivatives) from the moment of their formation and a study of the subsequent change in their composition and distribution. Organic geochemistry studies biochemical compounds such as carbohydrates, proteins, and lignin, which are the raw materials for the production of organic matter, and the products of transformation of such compounds in the outer geospheres under the action of bacteria, temperature, pressure, and other geological factors. Among such products are humus, sapropel, coal, combustible shale, and petroleum.

The geochemistry of petroleum and coal has become an independent scientific discipline. An important area in organic geochemistry is the study of the role of organic matter in the migration and concentration of many chemical elements in the earth’s crust and the formation of deposits of uranium, copper, vanadium, germanium, and molybdenum.

Organic geochemistry is closely related to organic cosmo-chemistry, in which the organic matter of bodies in space is studied.

International congresses on problems of organic geochemistry have been convened regularly since 1962; the sixth congress was held in France in 1973.


Organicheskaia geokhimiia: Sb. St., fascs. 1–3. Moscow, 1967–71. (Translated from English.)
The Encyclopedia of Geochemistry and Environmental Sciences, vol. 4B. Edited by R. Fairbridge. New York, 1973.


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