Feldspar dissolution, quartz cementation, and clay cementation are significant diagenetic processes in deep-water fan feldspar-rich sandstones in the Shengtuo area, Dongying sag (East China). The timing and origin of these water–rock interactions as well as the paleofluids in which relevant chemical reactions occurred were deduced using data from microscopy, fluid-inclusion microthermometry, oxygen-isotope microanalysis, and trace-element microanalysis.

Three distinct, separate episodes of quartz overgrowths (referred to as Q1, Q2, and Q3) were distinguished by cathodoluminescence microscopy. The Q1 quartz, identified in all porous sandstones from 2500 to 3600 m (8200 to 11,800 ft), was formed at approximately 100°C–115°C (212°F–239°F) before oil filled the reservoirs. The Q2 quartz was mainly precipitated at 115°C–130°C (239°F–275°F), accompanying or slightly postdating the main phase of oil filling, and was identified in samples from 2800 to 3600 m (9200 to 11,800 ft). The Q3 quartz was only identified in sandstones buried deeper than 3500 m (11,400 ft) and was likely precipitated in the Quaternary when temperature exceeded 130°C–135°C (266°F–275°F). Secondary ion mass spectrometry oxygen-isotope microanalyses yielded δ18OVSMOW (Vienna standard mean ocean water) values ranging from 21.42‰ to 24.35‰ for Q1 quartz, from 22.03‰ to 24.99‰ for Q2 quartz, and from 21.72‰ to 22.91‰ for Q3 quartz.

A mass-balance calculation and quantitative petrography data of the amount of leached feldspars and associated secondary minerals suggest that the internal feldspar dissolution is likely the primary source for the authigenic clays and quartz cements in these sandstones. Positive δ18O(water) values (+0.5‰ to +4.5‰ VSMOW) of quartz-forming waters indicate that quartz cementation and feldspar dissolution occurred in a geochemical system with a limited volume of diagenetically modified connate water. The variations of δ18O(cements) and trace-element compositions from Q1 quartz to Q2 quartz in individual overgrowth suggest that hydrocarbon filling changed the chemistry of the pore fluid significantly; further, δ18O(water) values of the pore water increased by approximately 2‰ VSMOW after oil filling.

Meteoric freshwater did not contribute to quartz cementation and simultaneous feldspar dissolution. The detected CO2 and hydrocarbons in fluid inclusions in the quartz cements, the existence of CO2 in hydrocarbon-rich natural gas, and the pyrobitumen in the feldspar-hosted pores suggest that acids derived from organic matter (kerogen in source rocks and hydrocarbons in reservoirs) probably have promoted the extensive subsurface leaching reactions of feldspars in these sandstones. The ongoing development of Q2 and Q3 quartz suggests that quartz precipitation did not cease after oil filling. Further, diagenetic reactions likely have proceeded from water–rock interactions to hydrocarbon–water–rock interactions.

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