Depositional-diagenetic process and their implications for pore development of Wufeng-Longmaxi shales in the Jiangdong block, Fuling shale gas field, SW China


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Depositional environment and diagenesis are important factors affecting pore characteristics, whereas how differential depositional and diagenetic processes affect pore development and preservation in shale remains controversial. In this study, based on geochemical analysis, low-temperature gas (including N2 and CO2) phys-isorption, core observation, thin section and field emission-scanning electron microscopy, the influences of various paleoenvironmental conditions and diagenetic pathways on pore development of the Wufeng and Longmaxi Formations are investigated. The results indicate that paleoenvironmental conditions determine pri-mary mineral composition and content of organic matter, resulting in the various shale lithofacies. Subsequently, minerals in different shale lithofacies experienced various diagenetic events and evolution pathways, finally affecting pore generation and evaluation. Three system tracts, including transgressive systems tract (TST), early highstand systems tract (EHST) and late highstand systems tract (LHST) are identified in the Wufeng and Longmaxi Formations. Siliceous shale, mainly deposited in the TST, contains large amounts of biogenic authi-genic quartz and abundant organic matter. Authigenic quartz aggregates effectively inhibit compaction and protect abundant pores. The contents of extrabasinal components increase during the EHST, while biogenic quartz and organic matter decrease to mainly develop mixed shale. Insufficient microcrystalline authentic quartz and high content of clay minerals lead to higher degree of compaction in mixed shale than siliceous shale, resulting in fewer residual pores. In contrast, clay minerals in clay-rich shale, deposited in the LHST, undergo strong compaction and illitization of smectite during diagenesis, resulting in strong deformation and loss of primary pores. As a result, higher amount of OM pores is generated and preserved in the organic-rich siliceous shales from the bottom of Wufeng and Longmaxi Formation, and gradually decreases in the mixed shale, while clay-rich shale in the upper section of the Longmaxi has the lowest amount of pore volume.
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