Oxygen isotope analyses of diagenetic cements can provide detailed evidence of sedimentary burial processes and conditions, as the δ18O values of precipitating minerals reflect contemporaneous local δ18Owater and temperature conditions. Uncertainties in the timing and rates of pore water δ18O evolution in sedimentary basins can complicate interpretation of these records. Fracture-bridging (0.5−1 mm) quartz cements observed in sandstones of the Cretaceous Travis Peak Formation in the East Texas basin show clear growth-zoning by cathodoluminescence and contain detailed fluid inclusion records of temperature that make them excellent candidates for interrogating prolonged histories of basin temperature and the evolution of δ18O in basin pore water. New secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) δ18Oquartz isotopic data from fluid inclusion-rich quartz bridges in Travis Peak sandstones record a steady increase of pore water δ18O values from ∼5 to 7‰ (VSMOW; Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water) as the sandstone warms from ∼130 to 150 °C. To help evaluate whether this trend could be generated solely from local water-rock interactions in response to burial compaction, a one-dimensional closed system isotopic burial model was created to simulate how δ18Owater values change in a quartz-dominated sandstone during diagenesis. Using both directly measured and inferred rates of Travis Peak compaction, the magnitude of change in δ18Owater that we calculate from quartz bridge geochemistry cannot be reasonably modeled solely by local quartz mechanical compaction, pressure solution, and cementation processes, necessitating significant fluxes of silica and high-δ18O water from outside of the sandstones prior to maximum burial. This indicates that even units which appear surrounded by significant barriers to fluid flow (i.e., mudrock-bounded channel sandstones) may have been infiltrated and diagenetically modified by large fluxes of fluid on geologic time scales.
A history of pore water oxygen isotope evolution in the Cretaceous Travis Peak Formation in East Texas
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Adam C. Denny, András Fall, Ian J. Orland, John W. Valley, Peter Eichhubl, Stephen E. Laubach; A history of pore water oxygen isotope evolution in the Cretaceous Travis Peak Formation in East Texas. GSA Bulletin doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35291.1
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