Biomarkers as a Fault Paleothermometer

We use extracted organic material from exhumed faults to determine the maximum frictional heating experienced by the fault. Because there are no retrograde reactions in these organic system, the maximum heating is preserved and the organics (kerogen and bitumen) can be considered paleothermometers. 

 

Relevant publication:

Polissar, P. J., H. M. Savage, and E. E. Brodsky (2011) Extractable organic material in fault zones as a tool to investigate frictional stress, Earth and Planetary Science Letters PDF