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Chemical relationships of ambers using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy

By
L. J. Cotton
L. J. Cotton
Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UKPresent address: Department of Geosciences, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, 241 Williamson Hall, PO Box 2120, Gainesville, FL 32611-2120, USAPresent address: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, 1659 Museum Road, PO Box 117800, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
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F. Vollrath
F. Vollrath
Department of Zoology, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK
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M. D. Brasier
M. D. Brasier
Department of Earth Sciences, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3AN, UK
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C. Dicko
C. Dicko
Department of Zoology, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UKPresent address: Chemistry Department, Pure and Applied Biochemistry, Lund University, Naturevetarvägen 16, 22241 Lund, Sweden
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Published:
January 01, 2017

Abstract

Amber is known for its remarkably well-preserved fossils, but the chemical complexity of amber and its history are less well known. Amber is highly variable in both its physical and chemical properties, which are dependent on factors such as the source tree and the diagenetic history. Amber from a given locality therefore has a unique chemical composition. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is often used to determine the chemical composition of amber and to provide a fingerprint for amber samples. We used FTIR spectroscopy to analyse samples spanning the time period from the Early Cretaceous to the Oligo-Miocene from 17 localities in the Americas, Europe and Asia. We then used cluster analysis to examine the trends in amber chemistry and to increase our understanding of its formation through time. A detailed analysis of the clustering followed by modelling of the variables of importance suggested that the exocyclic methylene group content and conformation play a major part in explaining the clustering. Other variables, such as the ester and alkyl contents, contribute to identification. Placed in a broader perspective, our study indicates that the dominant factor in clustering is the age of the amber, followed by the locality.

Supplementary material: Detailed sample list and combined spectra of all samples are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3704920

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Contents

Geological Society

Earth System Evolution and Early Life: A Celebration of the Work of Martin Brasier

A. T. Brasier
A. T. Brasier
University of Aberdeen, UK
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D. McIlroy
D. McIlroy
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
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N. McLoughlin
N. McLoughlin
Rhodes University, South Africa
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Geological Society of London
Volume
448
ISBN electronic:
9781786202932
Publication date:
January 01, 2017

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