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Nucleation Controls Selective Previous HitAnhydriteNext Hit Cementation In San Andres Reservoirs of West Texas


In many West Texas Permian reservoirs unaffected by secondary Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit dissolution, coarse-crystalline Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit occludes a greater fraction of large pores than smaller pores in the same rock sample. Where Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit occurs in a void, the pore is typically completely occluded by a single crystal. Most of the Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit crystals terminate at the edges of voids and conform to their shape. Crystals do not extend through pore throats except where both pores and throats are exceptionally large (millimeters and tens of microns, respectively).

It is proposed that this crystallization pattern results from nucleation control of Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit cementation during burial diagenesis. Low nucleation-site density due to slight supersaturation of Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit in the fluid makes it unlikely that more than a single Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit crystal is heterogeneously nucleated in most pores. As pore surface area decreases with decreasing radius, pores are less likely to have even a single nucleation site, so small pores are more likely to remain open than large pores. Uncemented pore throats result from surface energy effects, also indicative of a low degree of supersaturation.

To test this hypothesis, thin sections from Wasson field (TX) were point counted to determine the frequency of Previous HitanhydriteNext Hit cementation in pores of different sizes. Results support the surface nucleation-control model. Nucleation-site frequency was estimated by fitting probabilistic models to the data. Sparsity of multicrystalline fill of very large pores indicates that Previous HitanhydriteTop nucleation and growth continues during burial diagenesis rather than being a short-lived phenomenon. 

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91021©1997 AAPG Annual Convention, Dallas, Texas.