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Evaluating the mechanical compaction of quartzarenites: The importance of sorting (Llanos foreland basin, Colombia)



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Rossi, Carlos and Alaminos, Antonio (2014) Evaluating the mechanical compaction of quartzarenites: The importance of sorting (Llanos foreland basin, Colombia). Marine and Petroleum Geology, 56 . pp. 222-223. ISSN 0264-8172

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2014.04.012


Mechanical compaction is the main porosity-reducing process in sandstones, including high-reservoir-quality rigid-grain sandstones. For such sandstones, the extrapolation of theoretical or experimental compaction algorithms needs calibration with rocks having well constrained burial histories. Evaluating the compaction of these rocks is achieved by comparing current intergranular volume (IGV) with depositional IGV, which is strongly dependent on sorting. However, because sandstone sorting is difficult to measure accurately, its impact on depositional porosity and compaction state is largely underestimated. We use the quartzarenites of the Oligocene Carbonera Formation in the subsurface of the hydrostatically-pressured Llanos basin to illustrate the importance of sorting when evaluating the compaction of rigid-grain sandstones. IGV and sorting were measured in core samples using a combination of transmitted-light and cathodoluminescence images, resulting in improved accuracy over standard procedures. The compaction state of clean quartzarenites at given depths is best described using IGV-versus-sorting plots, which are used to derive compaction curves for specified sorting values. The IGV-versus-sorting trends are displaced to lower IGV values with increasing burial depth. The differences in IGV caused by differences in sorting exceed the differences in IGV resulting from 1000 m of burial, illustrating the high impact of sorting when evaluating compaction. Contrasting with published experimental results, the compaction of the Llanos basin ductile-grain-poor quartzarenites is independent of grain size, and grain rearrangement is the main compaction mechanism during the first ∼1.6 km of burial. Based on the Llanos data, we have generated IGV-versus-depth curves for clean pure quartzarenites of specific sorting, which can be used to predict their maximum primary porosity up to moderate burial depths. Differences with other published burial curves are probably related to unaccounted variations in sorting, ductile-grain content and framework-strengthening cements. However, the Llanos basin quartzarenites contain virtually no cements, explaining their high degree of compaction relative to other rigid-grain sandstones, and making them ideal to isolate the effects of compaction on the IGV of quartzarenites. The Llanos basin data suggest that, below ∼2.5 km of depth, clean well- to moderately well sorted quartzarenites continue reducing their IGV by mechanical compaction below the 26% limit, which should apply only to extremely well sorted, rigid grain, uncemented sandstones.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sandstone diagenesis; Compaction; Quartzarenite; Cathodoluminescence; Llanos basin
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geochemistry
Sciences > Geology > Petrology
ID Code:64490
Deposited On:22 Mar 2021 07:38
Last Modified:07 Apr 2021 06:05

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