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Organic compounds are ubiquitous in the Earth’s surface, sediments and many rocks, and preserve records of geological, geochemical and biological history; they are also critical natural resources and major environmental pollutants. The naturally occurring stable isotopes of volatile elements (D, 13C, 15N, 17,18O, 33,34,36S) provide one way of studying the origin, evolution and migration of geological organic compounds. The study of bulk stable isotope compositions (i.e. averaged across all possible molecular isotopic forms) is well established and widely practised, but frequently results in non-unique interpretations. Increasingly, researchers are reading the organic isotopic record with greater...

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