Grain assemblages in the organic-rich Cline shale in the Midland Basin are dominated by components of extrabasinal derivation (11.4 to 98.5 vol. %; average volume: 82.6%). Major extrabasinal components include K-rich clay minerals, detrital quartz, albite, K-feldspar, micas, and lithic fragments. Intrabasinal components include mainly biosiliceous allochems (sponge spicules and radiolarians), agglutinated foraminifera, Ca-phosphate peloids, clay-rich peloids, organomineralic aggregates, intraclasts, and other biocalcareous allochems. Authigenic minerals are most evident as grain replacements, euhedral ankerite, Ca-phosphate cement, and precipitates in large pores. A strongly localized spatial distribution of diagenetic products at micron to centimeter scales is observed in most siliciclastic samples, except in biosiliceous allochem-rich ones in which abundant intergranular pore-filling clay-size microquartz cement is observed. Compaction is evident in the Cline shale because of low porosity and generally low cement volumes. Neither textural variation nor bulk mineral composition alone is sufficient to confidently decipher the rock bulk property (e.g., total organic carbon) and reservoir quality variation (e.g., porosity and permeability). However, a good negative relationship between the ratio of extrabasinal to intrabasinal grains and favorable reservoir properties is observed in the Cline shale. Specifically, higher porosity, permeability, and total organic carbon are observed in samples representing the extreme end members of intrabasinal-derived biosilica-rich layers. Nickel, a recognized proxy for paleoproductivity, exhibits a positive relationship with intrabasinal grain content and reservoir properties. X-ray fluorescence–based analysis of nickel can be a rapid and cost-effective way to delineate favorable unconventional reservoir quality in the Cline shale.

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