Aarhus Universitets segl

Projection Description of the Lithospheric Organic Carbon Group

The Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, jointly with Total and Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre (DHRTC), have made a significant, long-term investment towards promoting research and education in lithospheric organic carbon by establishing a research chair professorship and funding of post doctoral fellows and graduate students (01.11.2017-).

As part of this investment, a state-of-the-art “Lithospheric Organic Carbon” (L.O.C.) Laboratory is envisioned and partly funded by the Department of Geoscience at Aarhus University to serve as a national research facility, catering a broad spectrum of studies dealing with organic carbon as applied to energy and environmental systems. This laboratory is uniquely integrate a wide range of powerful microscopy, spectrometry, and chromatography systems, providing one of the world’s best research facilities for organic carbon research. This new infrastructure is unique in Denmark and has positioned us as a leading international research laboratory in organic carbon.

Organic matter constitutes a significant percentage of a wide range of geological and environmental deposits and is a massive repository in the global carbon cycle. Its concentration ranges anywhere from <1 to >90 wt% in aquatic sediments, soil, permafrost, mudrocks, black shale, and other carbonaceous deposits. Organic carbon is the building block of the global energy system and forms the basis for life. Furthermore, organic deposits in the lithosphere play a key role in the environment by regulating the level of carbon-based greenhouse gases and distribution of a range of pollutants that are chemically tied to organic compounds within the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Organic matter is arguably the most important component of all fundamental bio- and geochemical reactions, from the moment it is deposited in the sedimentary setting, to its way through formation of the carbonaceous rocks, which constitute the most prominent global storage of carbon. The composition of organic carbon compounds also depend on environmental conditions and may thus be excellent tracers of past climate and environmental change on short and long time scales.