Download article

Investigation of fossil resins and amber

E.Yu. Makarova1, E.E. Maslova1, Ja. Marek2

Original article



open access

Under a Creative Commons license

Fossil resins and amber are a product of lithogenesis of resinous substances of higher plants – resinite. These components of plants, like other lipoid ingredients (suberins, coutines, sporinins, natural rubbers) are resistant to microbial action, so they are well preserved in bacterial processing of organic matter in the stages of sedimento- and diagenesis, and are well diagnosed in microscopic studies. They occur in a rather wide age range of sedimentary rocks. The amber of the Baltic region of the Eocene age is most fully studied. The article presents the results of a study of the collection of fossil resins and amber from various regions of the world. Samples were studied microscopically; carbon isotope analysis, infrared spectroscopy (IR spectroscopy) were performed. The most informative analysis of high-molecular polymeric compounds is IR spectroscopy. It was found that in the analyzed samples of fossil resins of different ages, aromatic compounds are not observed, most of which are first volatilized in fossilization processes. The possibility of influencing the group composition of amber and amber-like resins for sedimentation, diagenesis and catagenesis is discussed. The IR spectra of fossil and modern resin conifers are compared. Using the IR spectroscopy method, an attempt was made to identify the botanical origin of fossil resins.

fossil resins, amber, IR spectroscopy, sedimentation, diagenesis, catagenesis

Atlas for coal petrography of China. 1996. 321 р.
Frakej Je. Jantar [Amber]: Translation from English. Moscow: Mir Publ. 1990. 198 p. (In Russ.)
Havelkova M., Sykorova I., Bechtel A., Mach K. et al. «Stump Horizon» in the Bilina Mine (Most Basin, Czech Republic) – GC-MS, optical and electron microscopy in indentification of wood biological origin. International Journal of Coal Geology. 2013. 107. Pp. 62-77.
Kievlenko E.Ja., Senkevich N.N. Geology of the fields of ornamental stones. Moscow: Nedra Publ. 1983. 263 p. (In Russ.)
Kolesnik I.V., Sapoletova N.A. Infrared spectroscopy. Moscow. Moscow State University Publ. 2011. 88 p. (In Russ.)
Martirosyan O.V., Bogdasarov M.A. Fossil Resins: Diagnosis, Classification and Structural Transformation under Conditions of Thermal Impact. Vestnik IG Komi NC UrO RAN [Bulletin of the IG Komi Scientific Center of the UrB RAS]. 2011. Pp. 10-15. (In Russ.)
Tarasevich B.N. IR spectra of the main classes of organic compounds. Moscow. Moscow State University Publ. 2012. 54 p. (In Russ.)
Tappert R., McKellar R.C., Wolfe A.P., Tappert M.C., Ortega-Blanco J., Muehlenbachs K. Stable carbon isotopes of C3 plant resins and ambers record changes in atmospheric oxygen since Triassic. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 2013. 121. Pp. 240-262.

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
2Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

For citation:

Makarova E.Yu., Maslova E.E., Marek Ja. Investigation of fossil resins and amber. Georesursy = Georesources. 2017. Special issue. Part 2. Pp. 249-255. DOI: