ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to relate diagenetic processes in deeply buried sandstones in the fourth member of the Eocene Shahejie Formation interval, Bohai Bay Basin, China, to pore-fluid flow changes with progressive burial. Based on petrographic, mineralogical, and geochemical analysis, distribution patterns of authigenic minerals are recognized that reflect (1) the sources and patterns of fluid flow and (2) fluid flow in an evolving open-to-closed system. Partial to extensive precipitation of calcite and dolomite at or near mudstone–sandstone contacts during eogenesis was a result of large-scale mass transfer between sandstones and adjacent mudstones. This process was driven by steep diffusion gradients from adjacent mudstones in a relatively open geochemical system on the local scale. Support for this model is provided by large sulfur isotope fractionation between framboidal pyrite and precursor gypsum. Dissolution of feldspar grains and dissolution of nonferroan carbonate cements during early mesogenesis are spatially associated with quartz and ferroan carbonate cementation, respectively. This process was related to organic carbon dioxide expelled from adjacent source rocks and indicates a relatively open system. During late mesogenesis, dissolution of evaporitic cements related to thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) generated ankerite and nodular pyrite cements in adjacent pores. A lack of sulfur isotope fractionation between parent anhydrite and late-stage, nodular pyrite during TSR supports a relatively closed fluid-flow system. Because the velocities of pore-fluid flow were low during mesogenesis, large-scale thermal convection and advection probably did not occur. Instead, diffusion over short distances is inferred as the predominant transport mechanism for dissolved solids that were precipitated as other phases either in situ or in adjacent pores.

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