Silicification, flow pathways, and deep-seated hypogene dissolution controlled by structural and stratigraphic variability in a carbonate-siliciclastic sequence (Brazil)

Luca Pisani*, Marco Antonellini, Francisco H.R. Bezerra, Cristina Carbone, Augusto S. Auler, Philippe Audra, Vincenzo La Bruna, Giovanni Bertotti, Fabrizio Balsamo, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fractured and karstified carbonate units are key exploration targets for the hydrocarbon industry as they represent important reservoirs. Furthermore, large water reserves and geothermal systems are hosted in carbonate aquifers. This paper documents the relationships between stratigraphy, structural patterns, silicification, and the spatial-morphological organization of a 3D multistorey cave system developed in a Neoproterozoic mixed carbonate-siliciclastic sequence. We found that the combination of lithology, silicification, fracture patterns (controlled by lithostratigraphic variability), and petrophysical properties control the formation of high or low permeability zones; their distribution was fundamental for the spatial organization of dissolution and the compartmentalization of the resulting conduit system in different speleogenetic storeys. We propose a deep-seated hydrothermal origin for the fluids involved in the main phases of karst formation. Warm and alkaline hydrothermal fluids caused silica dissolution, followed by chalcedony and quartz reprecipitation in pore space and fractures. Rising fluids concentrated along through-going vertical fracture zones in the lower storey, whereas sub-horizontal bedding-parallel fluid flow was focused on sedimentary packages containing highly silicified dolostones (SiO2>80 wt%) characterized by high permeability. The Calixto Cave is an enlightening example for the complex speleogenetic history affecting a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic succession where the combined effect of silicification and hydrothermal karst dissolution can potentially generate high-quality reservoirs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105611
Number of pages24
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Volume139
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.

Keywords

  • Deep hydrothermal karst
  • Fluid flow
  • Hypogene caves
  • Karst reservoirs
  • Speleogenesis

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