ABSTRACT

Well-developed detrital clay grain coats are observed in deep-marine sandstones of the Upper Cretaceous Springar Formation of the Vøring Basin in the Norwegian Sea. The detrital clay coats form thin and compact rims on individual sand grains and meniscus-shaped bridges between grains. These well-developed coats are found in high-density turbidites and proximal hybrid event beds with common to pervasive dewatering structures deposited in proximity to the base of a syndepositionally active basin high. Here, in one exploration well, detrital clay grain coats are common throughout a sandstone package 100 m thick. High-density turbidites and proximal and distal hybrid event beds drilled in mid- to distal-fan settings unaffected by seismically resolved seafloor topography show common dewatering features, but have only scattered detrital clay coats confined to individual dewatering pipes or dish structures. Hence, we propose that intense sediment dewatering has the potential to form detrital clay coats in deep-marine sandstones by a combination of elutriation and reorganization of clays during fluid escape from sediment bodies with pore fluid pressures significantly higher than the hydrostatic pressure. In submarine fan systems, deposition of sediment with coeval trapping of large volumes of interstitial pore fluid is most likely to occur where gravity flows undergo rapid deceleration in response to an abrupt decrease in confinement or gradient. Such environments include the channel–lobe transition and settings in proximity to seabed topography.

The investigated sandstones are quartz arenites and subarkoses, with minor to moderate volumes of quartz cement (up to 6%). However, strongly to completely quartz-cemented intergranular pore space is observed where detrital clay coats or matrix does not cover quartz grains in the deepest part of the studied formation. Modeling of quartz cementation predicts that most intergranular macroporosity in the lower part of the Springar Formation would be quartz cemented if the sandstones were free of detrital clays. Based on our observations and modeling results we propose that intense sediment dewatering has the potential to form detrital clay coats, which can be important for retaining porosity in deeply buried sandstones and in basins with high present or past heat flow.

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