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Abstract

Most sedimentary basins contain close to 20% by volume pore water; much of which is of high ionic strength and is classified as brine. Although considerable variation occurs in the composition of basinal waters, some correlation exists between major ion concentrations and total dissolved solids. It is consequently possible to construct geochemical models for basinal waters that have general utility for investigating a variety of subsurface processes.

In this paper, we examine the potential role of brine composition and movement on carbonate mineral mass transport in sedimentary basins up to pressure and temperature conditions of 300 bars and 100°C. Primary emphasis is placed on the impact of vertical and lateral migration of brines and the dispersive mixing of brines with waters containing widely varying concentrations of total dissolved solids. Model results indicate that mixing of subsurface waters may produce fluids which are highly supersaturated and at times slightly undersaturated with respect to calcite. This process may represent a major mechanism for production and destruction of carbonate cements in sediments. It may also offer an explanation as to how basinal scale mass transfer of carbonates can occur in waters that are close to equilibrium with respect to major sedimentary carbonate minerals.

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