Abstract

This study aims to unravel the impact of diagenetic alterations on porosity loss of foreland-basin turbiditic hybrid arenites and associated siliciclastic sandstones of the Eocene Hecho Group (south-central Pyrenees, Spain). In this succession, hybrid arenites and calclithites are extensively cemented by mesogenetic calcite cement (δ18OVPDB = −10.0‰ to −5.8‰; Th, mode = 80° C; salinity mode = 18.8 wt% eq. NaCl), Fe-dolomite (δ18OVPDB = −8.5‰ to −6.3‰) and trace amounts of siderite. The extent of carbonate cementation is interpreted to be related to the amounts of extrabasinal and intrabasinal carbonate grains, which provided nuclei and sources for the precipitation and growth of carbonate cements. Other diagenetic alterations, such as pyrite and albitization, had no impact on reservoir quality. Scarce early diagenetic cements, coupled with abundant ductile carbonate and siliciclastic framework grains, have led to rapid porosity loss owing to compaction. Conversely, abundant quartz in the sandstones prevented rapid loss of porosity by mechanical compaction. Reservoir quality was affected by mesogenetic cementation by quartz overgrowths, calcite and dolomite intergranular pressure dissolution of quartz grains, and formation of fracture-filling calcite cement (δ18OV-PDB values from −10.4‰ to −7.8‰; Th temperatures of ≈ 150° C), which are attributed to deep circulation of hot meteoric waters during extensional stages of tectonism.

The results of this study illustrate that diagenetic evolution pathways of the arenites and sandstones are closely linked to the variation in detrital composition, particularly the proportion and types of extrabasinal noncarbonates, extrabasinal carbonates, and intrabasinal carbonate grains. These insights suggest that marine turbiditic hybrid arenites and calclithites of foreland basins are subjected to more rapid and extensive porosity loss owing to compaction and cementation than associated siliciclastic sandstones. Degradation of reservoir quality makes these hybrid arenites, calclithites, and sandstones suitable as tight gas reservoirs, but only if fracture porosity and permeability develop during tectonic deformation.

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