Abstract

Our main objectives are to (1) learn if pore-evolution models developed from marine mudrocks can be directly applied to lacustrine mudrocks, (2) investigate what controls the different pore types and sizes of Chang 7 organic matter (OM)-rich argillaceous mudstones of the Upper Triassic Yanchang Formation, and (3) describe the texture, fabric, mineralogy, and thermal maturity variation in the Chang 7 mudstones. Lacustrine mudstones from nine cored wells along a depositional dip in the southeastern Ordos Basin, China, were investigated. Helium porosimetry, nitrogen adsorption, and field-emission scanning electron microscopy of Ar-ion milled samples were applied. Measured average total porosity of samples from a proximal to distal transect (ϕ=5.0%) is higher than those from the two adjacent cored wells (ϕ=2.3%). This difference in porosity partly caused by differences in the clay mineral content implies that in the fluvial-deltaic-lacustrine depositional environment, reservoir quality can vary significantly in a short distance. Owing to the uneven distribution of the sample set from proximal to distal area, we mainly evaluate variations in the proximal setting. Results from nitrogen-gas adsorption experiments show that there are four distinct patterns of pore-size distribution within the Chang 7 member of the Yanchang Formation with no particular correlation with mineralogical composition and thermal maturity. The pore network within Chang 7 mudstones is dominated by OM-hosted pores, with a lesser abundance of interparticle and intraparticle pores. The size distribution of mineral-hosted pores within these mudstones is found to be closely related to the rock texture (sorting and grain size) and fabric. Mudstones with well-sorted grains and a higher percentage of coarser grains have more abundant mineral pores. The sizes of OM-hosted pores in these compaction-dominated lacustrine mudstones were one to two orders of magnitude smaller than those in the marine mudstones that display abundant early cementation.

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