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Dolomitization of the lower St. George Group on the Northern Peninsula in western Newfoundland: implications for lateral distribution of porosity
The Watts Bight Formation constitutes the lowermost part of the St. George Group in western Newfoundland. On the Northern Peninsula, it consists of Tremadocian (lower Ordovician) shallow marine platform carbonates (approximately 50 m thick). Dolomitization is extensive throughout the formation except for its topmost part. Petrographic examinations suggest that the succession was affected by at least three successive phases of dolomitization, which influenced secondary porosity. These phases have crystal-size ranges of approximately 4 to 50 μm (earliest sub- to euhedral dolomite D1), 50 to 200 μm (eu- to subhedral D2), and 300 μm to 3mm (anhedral saddle dolomite D3), respectively. They occur as replacement and/or pore-filling cements and exhibit dull (D1 and D3) to zoned (D2) luminescence under the cold cathodoluminoscope. The D2 phase is the dominant dolomite while the other two phases are rare.
Microthermometric measurements of the primary two-phase fluid inclusions in D2 (homogenization temperatures up to 157° C and salinity estimates up to 24.3 eq. wt% NaCl) suggest that it formed under relatively deep burial conditions. This is supported by the petrographic character (eu- to subhedral relatively big crystals) and geochemical composition (depleted δ18O mean value of −8.7±1.2‰ VPDB and low Sr contents of 68±30ppm) of the D2 phase. Thin-section examination suggests that porosity is dominantly intercrystalline and associated with the D2 phase. Visual estimates suggest that porosity varies from <1% in most of the formation to approximately 10% in two horizons, each approximately 2m thick, at approximately 10 m and 20 m from formation base. Correlations with the equivalent Watts Bight Formation section in the Isthmus Bay (300 km to South) reveal porous intervals at comparable stratigraphic levels. Also the geochemical results and microthermometric measurements suggest that D2 in the Northern Peninsula section was formed from hotter fluids under relatively more reducing conditions relative to their Isthmus Bay counterparts. The porous zones seem to be associated with fluctuations in sea-level marked by negative shifts in the δ13C profile.
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