To systematically study the whole-aperture pore-structure characteristics of the marine-continental transitional shale facies in the Upper Palaeozoic Taiyuan and Shanxi Formations of the Qinshui Basin, we have collected a total of 11 samples for high-pressure mercury intrusion, low-pressure gas adsorption (N2 and CO2), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and field-emission scanning electron microscopy with argon-ion polishing experiments to determine the pore morphology and distribution characteristics of shale samples in detail and to perform quantitative analyses. Then compared the pore-development characteristics of the Taiyuan Formation samples with those of the Shanxi Formation to determine which is preferable. The experimental results indicate that the shale samples of the Qinshui Basin mainly develop three types of pores: organic pores, intergranular pores, and microfractures. High-pressure mercury intrusion and gas-adsorption experiments indicate that the pore-size distributions exhibit multiple peaks. The samples contained varying proportions of macropores, mesopores, and micropores, among which the former two are dominant, accounting for approximately 85% of the total pore volume, whereas micropores account for only 15%. However, mesopores and micropores dominate the specific surface area; between them, the micropores are much more prevalent, accounting for more than 99% of the total specific surface area. Macropores contribute less than 1% of the specific surface area and therefore can be neglected. The pore morphology resembles the slit type parallel platy pores with a ballpoint pen structure. The NMR T2 spectra have multiple-peak values. In addition, the large difference between the curved areas before and after centrifugation indicates that the samples contain a large proportion of mesopores and macropores, which is consistent with the results presented above. The results demonstrate that the development of pores in the Taiyuan Formation is better than that in the Shanxi Formation.

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