The oxygen isotopic compositions and inferred precipitation temperatures of quartz cements in a suite of deeply buried sandstones from the North Sea, Gulf Coast, and western Canada basins indicate that, in almost every case, the quartz precipitated from 18O-rich basinal waters.18O-rich waters are found in strictly limited volumes in sedimentary basins. Silica transport and quartz cementation could not therefore have occurred as a result of large-scale advection of basinal or meteoric waters, because this would require very large fluid fluxes. Quartz cementation was driven by processes operating on a local scale. The isotopic data do not uniquely indicate the mechanisms of silica transport but are consistent with both diffusion and local recycling of fluid.

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