The recent intensification of energy resource exploration and human activities in the Barents Sea (BS) requires a more thorough assessment of the natural and anthropogenic impact of hydrocarbons on the environment. We analyzed a wide set of sensitive indicators, including hydrocarbon molecular markers and organic matter (OM) maturity parameters in the Holocene sediments from three regions of the BS: the Kola-Kanin Monocline (KKM), the Svalbard shelf, and the Shtokman gas-condensate field (GCF). An increase in pyrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons toward the core surface traces the intensification of anthropogenic contamination in the KKM region during last century. An input of highly mature OM from the eroded coal rocks of Barentsburg were confirmed by comparison of biomarker distribution in sediments and coals. An increase in biogenic hopanes and hopenes content down-core, and a crude-oil stage of OM maturity in surface sediments of the Shtokman GCF attests to hydrocarbons migration from subsurface strata.
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