Abstract

This study examines relationships between porosity and time-temperature history, and the influence of rock properties upon porosity, for the Lower Cretaceous J Sandstone in the Colorado portion of the Denver basin. The J Sandstone is classified as a quartzarenite to litharenite and was deposited in nearshore-marine, deltaic, and fluvial-estuarine (valley-fill) settings. Principal elements of its paragenetic sequence include quartz cementation and pressure solution, carbonate cementation and dissolution, dissolution of feldspar and rock fragments, and formation of authigenic clays. Porosity versus vitrinite reflectance (R 0 ) regression lines of the form Phi = A(R 0 )Beta (where B is a negative number) depicting the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th porosity percentiles of the J Sandstone were derived from 963 core-plug measurements representing 31 wells. The data span a thermal maturity range of R 0 = 0.41%-1.14%. Porosity distributions at different locations within the basin can be estimated as a function of thermal maturity on the basis of these regression lines. Porosity trends of the J Sandstone, if considered as a function of R 0 , are similar to those of broad, composite data sets representing sandstones in general. The petrographic factors that most affect J Sandstone porosity variability at a given level of thermal maturity are carbonate cementation and clay content. Carbonate cement, where present, reduces porosity. If previously more widespread, carbonate cement could also introduce porosity heterogeneity by temporarily preserving the pore network relative to uncemented intervals. Abundant detrital and authigenic clay reduces porosity by occupying pores. Low clay content indirectly reduces porosity because the inhibiting effects of clay upon quartz cementation and pressure solution are largely absent.

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