Red sandstones near Green River, Utah (United States), have been bleached by diagenetic fluids. Field relationships, modeling, fluid inclusion and isotopic data suggest that the causal fluid was a CO2-charged brine, distinguishing this site from hydrocarbon-related bleaching elsewhere on the Colorado Plateau. Mineralogical and chemical profiles from unbleached to bleached sandstone show that bleaching is related to hematite dissolution and precipitation of a 1–2 cm band of secondary oxide and carbonate at the reaction front. Trace metals are mobilized by the fluid and concentrated near the reaction front. High-flux fluid pathways are more heavily altered with large-scale secondary calcite and iron oxide precipitation. Changes may be modeled by a reaction with stoichiometry 20Fe2O3 + 5CH4 + 64CO2 + 19H2O + 11H+ = 30Fe2+ + 10FeHCO3+ + 59HCO3. The Fe-rich, reduced fluid precipitates iron-oxides and carbonate at the reaction front between bleached and unbleached sandstone. These findings make the site an analogue for processes occurring over long time scales in geological carbon storage projects. Trace metals moblized by CO2-charged brines are likely to be rapidly re-precipitated at reaction fronts.

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