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Data indicate that porosity loss in subsurface carbonate rocks can be empirically represented by the power function, ^Thgr = a (TTI)b, where ^Thgr is regional porosity, TTI is Lopatin's time-temperature index of thermal maturity, the exponent, b, equals approximately -0.372, and the multiplier, a, is constant for a given data population but varies by an order of magnitude overall.
Implications include the following.
1. The decrease of carbonate porosity by burial diagenesis is a maturation process depending exponentially on temperature and linearly on time.
2. The exponent, b, is essentially independent of the rock matrix, and may reflect rate-limiting processes of diffusive transport.
3. The multiplying coefficient, a, incorporates the net effect on porosity of all depositional and diagenetic parameters.
Within constraints, carbonate-porosity prediction appears possible on a regional measurement scale as a function of thermal maturity. Estimation of carbonate porosity at the time of hydrocarbon generation, migration, or trapping also appears possible.
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