I.Y. Mriheel* and J. M. Anketell**
*Petroleum Research Centre, Tripoli, Libya.
**Department of Earth Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL.
Dolomitization in the early Eocene Jirani Formation in the Gabes-Tripoli Basin (offshore western Libya) occurred in two stages. Stage I dolomites are composed of two types, one associated with anhydrite (Type I) the other anhydrite free (Type II). The stratigraphic and sedimentological settings together with petrographic and geochemical criteria suggest that dolomitization was effected by refluxed evaporative seawater. Stable isotope and trace element analyses suggest dolomitization of both Types from a fluid of near-surface seawater composition under oxidising conditions modified by evaporation. Non-luminescence and lack of zonation of all the dolomite indicate that the dolomitizing fluids maintained a relatively constant composition. The geologic setting during the early Eocene, interpreted as hypersaline lagoon, supports an evaporative reflux origin for the anhydritic dolomite Type I. Type II developed under less saline conditions in the transition zone between lagoon and open marine shelf.
Stage II dolomitization is recorded by negative isotope values in both Types I and II indicating their dissolution and recrystallization (neomorphism) by dilute solutions. A period of exposure of the overlying Jdeir Formation following a relative sea-level fall allowed ingress of meteoric waters into both the Jdeir and the underlying Jirani Formations. Flushing by meteoric waters also resulted in development of excellent secondary porosity and caused major dissolution of anhydrite to form the anhydritic-free dolomite facies typical of Type II. Following, and possibly during, both Stages I and II, low temperature dolomites (Type IIIa) precipitated in pore spaces from residual fluids at shallow burial depths, partially occluding porosity. In the late stage of basin evolution, medium crystalline, pore-filling saddle dolomite precipitated, causing some filling of mouldic and vuggy porosity (Type IIIb). Very light oxygen isotopic signatures confirm that it developed from high temperature fluids during deep burial diagenesis. Calculation of temperatures and timings of the dolomitization and cement phases show that the main dolomitization phases and Type IIIa cements occurred in the early Eocene, and that the saddle dolomite precipitated in the Miocene; these results are consistent with age relationships established from stratigraphic, petrographic and geochemical signatures. The most common porosity includes intercrystal, vuggy and mouldic types. Porosity is both pre-dolomitization and syn-dolomitization in origin, but the latter is the most dominant. Hence, reservoir quality is largely controlled by fluid dynamics.