Abstract

Petrography analysis of sandstones from the vicinity of a pressure seal (transition from normal to overpressure) at 5.5-km depth in the lower Tuscaloosa Formation in Louisiana documents local, high porosity above and below the seal. Packing analysis shows that compaction is greater in normally pressured, high-porosity sandstones than in overpressured, high-porosity sandstones; compaction in overpressured, high-porosity sandstones is similar to that in normally pressured, well-cemented sandstones. We propose that focused corrosive fluids created a zone of high secondary porosity, allowing further compaction that we call "secondary compaction." Secondary compaction is greater above the seal than below, suggesting that high-pressure fluid below the seal has preserved porosity and that the pressure seal became effective soon after dissolution of cement. Cuttings from the pressure-seal zone reveal an unusual texture of fragmented, pressure-solved grains and matrix, which may be a result of extensive secondary compaction.

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