Abstract

ABSTRACT

Petrographic evidence of thin sheet-like or platelet-shaped quartz cement parallel to bedding is documented in deeply buried, originally smectite-rich, Late Cretaceous mudstones from well 6505/10-1 in the Vøring Basin, offshore Norway. The platelets are mainly built up of areas of patchy continuous quartz cement with various amounts of earlier-formed interlocking microquartz crystals. Cathode luminescence (CL) spectra confirm an authigenic origin for the quartz cement. The quartz platelets may originate as flakes (at c. 90–100 °C) that may evolve into well-developed near-continuous patchy quartz cement identified at 4300 m/150 °C. The quartz cement is probably sourced from silica released by the clay dissolution-precipitation processes (smectite and smectite/illite to illite and kaolinite to illite). At temperatures above about 90–100 °C, the continuous supply of silica from these clay mineral reactions results in precipitation of quartz flakes and sheet-like quartz cement. The quartz sheets may act as a mudrock stiffening agent, reinforcing and further cementing together the microquartz networks and aggregates and possibly also enhancing the schistosity and anisotropy of these mudstones during increasing burial. The quartz sheets may also act as vertical permeability barriers in the sediment possibly contributing to overpressure formation during chemical compaction.

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