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NEWS RELEASE 08/04/94 CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (650) 723-2558 STANFORD -- The Jurassic (180 million to 140 million years ago) was a very good age for oil formation.
So too was the Cretaceous (140 million to 65 million years ago).
Michael Moldowan, a research professor at Stanford University.
The new dating method is described in the August 5 issue of the journal Science.
Huizinga from ARCO International Oil & Gas Company, Stanford science and engineering technician Frederick J. Oleanane is highly associated with the angiosperms, flowering plants that have evolved and spread since the early Cretaceous.
If the compound is present in relatively small amounts, the crude is almost certainly Cretaceous or younger.
If it contains large amounts of the organic substance, on the other hand, its pedigree most likely dates from the post-Cretaceous or Tertiary Age (65 million to 5 million years ago).
Because hopane should degrade at about the same rate as oleanane, the ratio of the two should be relatively independent of the petroleum's thermal history, the researchers said.
When they obtained these ratios and compared them with the age of their samples and the number of families of angiosperms in the fossil record, they found that, although there were some differences, variations in the level of the biological marker are broadly consistent with the fossil record.Many flowering plants produce derivatives of oleanane, called oleanoids, that are toxic to predators.