Upper Cretaceous sandstones are the main clastic reservoirs of the Santos Basin, eastern Brazil, showing high porosity at depths greater than 4000 m. Porosity preservation in these deep sandstones is ascribed to the inhibition of quartz cementation and pressure dissolution by authigenic pore-lining chlorite. Santos sandstones are mostly fine-grained, lithic arkoses, rich in volcanic rock fragments (VRF). Chlorite, the most abundant diagenetic constituent, occurs as coatings, rims, rosettes and replacing grains. Chlorite precipitation was favoured by the presence of eodiagenetic smectite coatings and by the abundance of VRF. Detrital heavy minerals, biotite and mud intraclasts were also sources and/or substrates for chlorite authigenesis. The chloritization of VRF, biotite and heavy minerals resulted in precipitation of abundant TiO2 minerals. Fluid flow patterns, burial and thermal history also played a role in chlorite authigenesis and reservoir quality evolution. Discontinuous and thin coatings and rims were not effective in inhibiting quartz cementation, while those too thick severely reduced the permeability. The rosette aggregates exerted no inhibition on quartz cementation, while reducing intergranular porosity. Systematic studies are necessary for modelling the diagenetic patterns of Santos Basin sandstones, in order to contribute to the reduction of risks involved in the exploration of these reservoirs.

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