J. Estupiñan1*, R. Marfil2, M. Scherer3 and A. Permanyer4  

1 Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Dpto. de Ciencias de la Tierra UCA, 11510 Cádiz,  Spain.

* Author for correspondence, e-mail:

2 Dpto. de Petrología y Geoquímica, Facultad de Geología, UCM, 28040 Madrid, Spain.

3 GG Consulting, Dorsten, Barkenberger Allee 150A,  46286, Germany.

4 Dpt. de  Geoquímica, Petrología i Prospecció Geológica. Universitat de Barcelona,  08028 Barcelona, Spain.

This paper investigates whether diagenetic alterations in sandstones and resulting changes in reservoir quality are influenced by depositional environments and sequence stratigraphy. The study focusses on the Cretaceous U and T sandstone members of the Napo Formation in the Oriente Basin of Ecuador. The sandstones were deposited in fluvial, transitional and marine environments, and comprise Lowstand (LST), Transgressive (TST) and Highstand Systems Tract (HST) deposits. The data were obtained by detailed petrographic observations supported by microprobe, stable isotope, and fluid inclusion analyses. The sandstones consist of fine- to medium-grained quartzarenites and subarkoses. Diagenetic events include cementation by chlorite, early and late kaolinite/dickite, early and late carbonates (siderite, Fe-dolomite/ankerite), and quartz.

Early (eogenetic) processes included formation of chlorite grain coatings, kaolinite pore filling, and siderite (S1) cementation. Chlorite is absent in TST sandstones but was found frequently in LST-HST sandstones. Early kaolinite is not present in LST sandstones but occurred frequently in LST-HST sandstones.

The distribution of mesogenetic cements relative to sequence stratigraphy is different in the U and T units. In the U sandstones, calcite is frequent in LST deposits and absent in the LST-HST. Fe-dolomite/ankerite is abundant only in the TST. S2 siderite is present in the TST and LST, but absent in the LST-HST. Quartz cement and kaolinite/dickite are equally distributed in all systems tracts. In the T sandstones Fe-dolomite/ankerite is only abundant in the TST, whilst calcite, quartz and dickite have similar distributions in all the systems tracts.

The distribution of kaolinite cement is interpreted to be the result of relatively more intense meteoric-water flux occurring during sea-level fall, whereas chlorite cement may have formed through burial diagenetic transformation of precursor clays e.g. berthierine which was precipitated in mixed marine-meteoric waters in tidal channel and estuarine environments.

Chlorite cement in the T and U  sandstones appears to have retarded development of quartz overgrowths, and 12-13% primary porosity is retained. The T sandstones (LST-HST) contain up to 4% chlorite cement. Little evidence for chemical compaction was found with the exception of occasional concave-convex grain contacts.

Eogenetic siderite appears to have helped to preserve reservoir quality through supporting the sandstone framework against further compaction, but mesogenetic calcite has considerably reduced primary porosity. Eogenetic siderite (S1) was partly replaced by later carbonate cements such as late siderite (S2) and Fe-dolomite. Although there appears to be a relationship in the Napo Formation between the occurrence of siderite S1 and sequence stratigraphy, the relationship may change when original volumes of siderite are considered. There is likewise partial replacement of early kaolinite and recrystalization to dickite which masks the amount of original early kaolinite. Since the amount of early kaolinite could not be confirmed, the relationship to sequence stratigraphy is tentative. Only chlorite seems to have a clear relationship to sequence stratigraphic framework in the Napo Formation. 

The high intergranular volume (IGV) of the sandstones indicates that cementation played a more important role than mechanical and chemical compaction in both Napo Formation sandstone members. Later dissolution of feldspar grains and siderite cements was the main process of secondary porosity development (up to 11% in the U sandstones).

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