Quartz is the principal framework mineral in clastic sediment reservoirs. In a frontier basin with sparse wells, the source of quartz in sandstones may be a predictor of the availability of medium- to coarse-grained quartz sand from plutonic sources, likely to provide good reservoirs. The Scotian Basin, offshore eastern Canada, was used to test this hypothesis because of its well-understood provenance history and geographic variability in known medium- to coarse-grained reservoir sandstones. The sources of detrital quartz in fine-grained sandstones were determined using hot-cathode cathodoluminescence (CL), supplemented by other petrographic techniques. The CL color shift for different quartz types was calibrated against the CL properties of representative source rocks in the hinterland, because generalizations in the literature do not precisely match our basin-specific observations. Grain size of sandstone exerts a strong control over quartz type, with plutonic-hypabyssal quartz and high-grade metamorphic quartz more abundant in coarse-grained sandstones and low-grade metamorphic quartz more abundant in fine-grained sandstones. Nevertheless, the analysis of fine-grained sandstones shows that plutonic-hypabyssal quartz is more abundant in fine-grained sandstones of the Sable subbasin than in those of the Abenaki subbasin. The abundance of plutonic-hypabyssal quartz correlates with the abundance of medium- to coarse-grained sandstone reservoirs in the Sable subbasin. This study suggests that, in frontier basins, the abundance of plutonic-hypabyssal quartz in fine-grained sandstones can be used as an indicator of available medium- to coarse-grained sandstone reservoir.

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