The study of dolostone of the Lower Silurian Sayabec Formation of the Lac Matapédia syncline, at the western end of the Gaspé Peninsula, sheds new light on porosity development and reservoir potential of the area. The dolomitized section is close to the Shickshock Sud Fault that cuts the southern limb of the syncline. The dolostone occurs either as a highly brecciated unit or as stratiform replacement of peritidal carbonates at the base of the formation. Residual bitumen is seen in the breccia as well as filling of small secondary vugs and fractures within the stratiform dolostone.

The dolostone consists predominantly of replacive matrix dolomite; petrography and oxygen and carbon stable isotope ratios (δ18OVPDB = −6.3 to −7.8‰ and δ13CVPDB = 1.2 to 3.3‰) of the matrix dolomite indicate early burial formation with later recrystallization in the presence of high temperature fluids. Saddle dolomite is found as a pore-filling cement in secondary dissolution pores and fractures. Oxygen stable isotope ratios of the saddle dolomite cement (δ18OVPDB = −14.5 and −15.3‰) indicate precipitation at high temperature. Dull luminescent burial calcite cement follows saddle dolomite. Later dissolution is locally apparent in carbonates as scalloped surfaces covered by finely laminated, bright-very dull luminescent calcites. Petrography and stable isotope ratios of the calcite (δ18OVPDB = −10.1 and −11.2‰ and δ13CVPDB = −2.3 and −6.9‰) suggest precipitation from meteoric waters.

Meteoric dissolution and luminescent-zoned calcite cements are related to a Pridolian sea level lowstand. This event provides a first age constraint on the timing of the hydrothermal dolomitization and hydrocarbon charge of the Sayabec Formation along the northern edge of the Gaspé Belt. The Shickshock Sud Fault channelled the hydrothermal fluids, which dolomitized the Sayabec Formation shortly after initial burial. A recent regional seismic program showed compressive structures (duplexes, backthrust, triangle zone) in the Sayabec Formation inferred to have occurred in latest Silurian–Early Devonian that generated structural traps superimposed on the stratigraphic (shaly facies) and diagenetic (tight non-dolomitized limestone) seals. Seismic anomalies (“flat spots”) in the Lower Silurian section in eastern Quebec suggest the presence of hydrocarbon-filled reservoirs.

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