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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

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Publication details for Dr Stuart Jones

Oye, Olakunle J., Aplin, Andrew C., Jones, Stuart J., Gluyas, Jon G., Bowen, Leon, Harwood, Joseph, Orland, Ian J. & Valley, John W. (2020). Vertical effective stress and temperature as controls of quartz cementation in sandstones: Evidence from North Sea fulmar and Gulf of Mexico Wilcox sandstones. Marine and Petroleum Geology 115: 104289.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

We present quantitative petrographic data, high spatial resolution oxygen isotope analyses of quartz cement, basin modelling and a kinetic model for quartz precipitation for two Paleocene-Eocene Wilcox Group sandstones from Texas and two Jurassic Fulmar Formation sandstones from the Central North Sea. At each location, one sandstone has been buried to ca. 145 °C and one to ca. 185 °C. A key difference between the Wilcox and Fulmar burial histories is that the Wilcox sandstones are currently at higher vertical effective stresses and, from basin modelling studies, have been subjected to generally higher vertical effective stresses through their burial history. The amounts of quartz cement in the Wilcox sandstones are between 12 and 18%, and between 2 and 6% in the Fulmar sandstones. High-spatial-resolution oxygen isotope data obtained from the quartz cements suggest temperature ranges for quartz precipitation from 60 to 80 °C to values approaching maximum burial temperature. Factors such as grain coatings or the timing of petroleum emplacement cannot explain the differences in the amounts of quartz cement. Petrographic data show that most of the silica for quartz cement can be derived from intergranular pressure dissolution. Although the sample set is small, we interpret the results to suggest that the differences in quartz cementation in Fulmar and Wilcox sandstones can be explained better by differences in their vertical effective stress history than their temperature history; in this case, the supply of silica rather than the precipitation of quartz becomes an important control on the rate and extent of cementation.