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ABSTRACT: Fresh Water and Acid Sensitivity of Authigenic Clays in Sandstone Reservoirs

BAKER, JULIAN C., PHILIPPA J. R. UWINS, and IAN D. R. MACKINNON, Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, University of Queensland, 4072, Queensland, Australia

Authigenic illite-smectite and chlorite in reservoir sandstones from several Pacific rim sedimentary basins in Australia and New Zealand have been examined using an Electroscan Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) before, during, and after treatment with fresh water and HCl, respectively. These dynamic experiments are possible in the ESEM because, unlike conventional SEMs that require a high vacuum in the sample chamber (10-6 torr), the ESEM will operate at high pressures up to 20 torr. This means that materials and processes can be examined at high magnifications in their natural states, wet or dry, and over a range of temperatures (-20 to 1000 degrees C) and pressures.

Sandstones containing the illite-smectite (60-70% illite interlayers) were flushed with fresh water for periods of up to 12 hours. Close examination of the same illite-smectite lines or filled pores, both before and after freshwater treatments, showed that the morphology of the illite-smectite was not changed by prolonged freshwater treatment.

Chlorite-bearing sandstones (Fe-rich chlorite) were reacted with 1M to 10M HCl at temperatures of up to 80 degrees C and for periods of up to 48 hours. Before treatment the chlorites showed typically platy morphologies. After HCl treatment the chlorite grains were coated with an amorphous gel composed of Ca, Cl, and possibly amorphous Si, as determined by EDS analyses on the freshly treated rock surface. Brief washing in water removed this surface coating and revealed apparently unchanged chlorite showing no signs of dissolution or acid attack. However, although the chlorite showed no morphological changes, elemental analysis only detected silicon and oxygen.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91015©1992 AAPG International Conference, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, August 2-5, 1992 (2009)