Classifying sedimentary organics: It's a matter of quality rather than quantity

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Sediments are crucial to the understanding of environmental processes and conditions in a variety of systems. The study of sediments often focuses on quantity, but should involve more emphasis on the quality of the organic component, by utilizing commonplace techniques employed by other disciplines. We provide a classification scheme that will allow those interested in organic matter quality to decide on appropriate techniques to apply, and discuss a variety of applications of the investigation of organic matter quality in diverse areas of Physical Geography. This paper: 1. Conceptualises organic matter quality by examining how different groups identify with this term, providing a classification scheme that may assist individuals in their exploration of organic matter character. 2. Identifies key areas of investigation linked to Physical Geography where research into organic matter quality may provide a necessary or useful component. 3. Explains and evaluates crucial techniques for characterising organic matter quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-479
Number of pages20
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Organic matter quality
  • sediments
  • classification
  • applications
  • measurement techniques


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