DEVONIAN CARBONATES OF THE NIGEL PEAK AREA, ROCKY MOUNTAINS, CANADA: A FOSSIL PETROLEUM SYSTEM?
J. Köster*, R. Littke+ and H. G. Machel
* RWTH Aachen University, Germany.
+ Corresponding author, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In this study we report on Devonian (Frasnian – Famennian) limestones and dolostones exposed near Nigel Peak in the Main Ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. These carbonates are a proximal facies of the Southesk-Cairn Carbonate Complex. The investigated strata are stratigraphically equivalent to the oil- and gas bearing Nisku Formation in the subsurface of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, about 300 km to the east. The rocks were investigated by polarisation and cathodoluminescence microscopy, total organic carbon analysis, Rock-Eval pyrolysis, solid bitumen reflectance measurements, gas chromatography and fluid inclusion analysis.
Thin section analyses showed that silt-grade quartz and saddle dolomite increase upward from the base of the stratigraphic section, and that porosities are generally low. This is due to reduction of pore space due to early cementation and extensive dolomitization. Cathodoluminescence identified up to four generations of calcite cements. TOC values ranged from 0.2 to 2.4 %. Rock-Eval pyrolysis of carbonate samples resulted in measurable S1 peaks but not S2 peaks, indicating that there was no residual petroleum generation potential. Organic petrographic analyses identified dispersed kerogen and migrabitumen, and calculated vitrinite reflectance values were around 4 % on average which implies peak temperatures of 234-262 °C (due to deep burial) or 309-352 °C (due to short term hydrothermal heating). Fluid inclusion data indicates at least one pulse of hot fluids with elevated homogenization temperatures of > 300 °C, and this may explain the high thermal maturity of the studied rocks.