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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 95, No. 6 (June 2011), P. 10671088.

Copyright copy2011. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Systematic diagenetic changes in the grain-scale morphology and permeability of a quartz-cemented quartz arenite

Jennie E. Cook,1 Laurel B. Goodwin,2 David F. Boutt3

1Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; [email protected]
2Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin; [email protected]
3Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts; [email protected]


The material properties of sedimentary rocks are controlled by a range of parameters, including grain size, sorting, and modification of the original sediment through the diagenetic processes of compaction and cementation. To isolate the effects of diagenesis and explore how they modify permeability, we quantified changes in grain and pore morphology accompanying progressive diagenesis of a simple system: a well-sorted, variably quartz-cemented quartz arenite of relatively uniform grain size. The most common type of authigenic cement in sandstones, quartz overgrowths, is responsible for significant porosity and permeability reduction. The distribution of overgrowths is controlled by available pore space and the crystallographic orientations of individual quartz grains.

We show that progressive quartz cementation modifies the grain framework in consistent, predictable ways. Detailed microstructural characterization and multiple regression analyses demonstrate that both the number and length of grain contacts increase as the number of pores increases and the number of large well-connected pores decreases with progressive diagenesis. The aforementioned changes progressively alter pore shape and reduce pore-size variability and bulk permeability. These systematic variations in the pore network correlate with changes in permeability, such that we can use our data to calibrate the Kozeny-Carmen relation, demonstrating that it is possible to refine predictions of permeability based on knowledge of the sedimentary system.

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