Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Diagenetic Clay Minerals in Sandstones: A Review of the Data and Controls

  1. Richard H. Worden1 and
  2. Sadoon Morad2
  1. S. Morad2,
  2. R. H. Worden1 and
  3. J. M. Ketzer2

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch3

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

How to Cite

Morad, S., Worden, R. H. and Ketzer, J. M. (1999) Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Diagenetic Clay Minerals in Sandstones: A Review of the Data and Controls, in Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones (eds R. H. Worden and S. Morad), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 1

    Department of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villa vägen 16, S-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Earth Sciences, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villa vägen 16, S-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 1999

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405105873

Online ISBN: 9781444304336

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Keywords:

  • isotopic composition of diagenetic clay minerals;
  • water isotopic facies in sedimentary basins;
  • clay mineral growth and diagenetic water types;
  • isotopes and palaeoclimatic conditions;
  • temperatures of clay mineral growth;
  • stable isotope fractionation factors;
  • fractionation factors for different isotopes in different clay minerals;
  • clay-mineral stable isotopic data;
  • clay-mineral–water hydrogen isotope fractionation equations

Summary

Analyses of O and H isotopes (δ18O and δ2H) in diagenetic clay minerals of sandstones have been used increasingly to decipher primarily: (i) the palaeoclimatic conditions that prevailed during near-surface diagenesis (eo- and telodiagenesis), (ii) precipitation temperature of the clay minerals, and (iii) the isotopic composition, origin and geochemical evolution of formation waters. However, achieving these goals is fraught with a number of uncertainties, including the level of accuracy of the temperature-dependent, isotopic fractionation equations between clay minerals and water at temperatures encountered during diagenesis, degree of isotopic resetting subsequent to crystallization, and difficulties in obtaining pure, monophase clay minerals.

In this paper, we address these potential uses and uncertainties based on isotopic data on clay minerals (mainly kaolin, illite, chlorite and mixed-layer types) in sandstones compiled from the literature, and decipher the links between the isotopic evolution and equilibrium state between clay minerals and formation waters during basin evolution.

There is evidence indicating that, once formed, diagenetic clay minerals may preserve their original isotopic composition, unless subjected to dissolution–reprecipitation reactions (i.e. transformation into other clay minerals and recrystallization). Each group of diagenetic clay minerals has relatively wide O and H isotopic values both on global and basinal scales, implying wide variations of crystallization temperatures and/or in the isotopic composition of fluids involved. Kaolin has δ18O values that range from +5‰ to +28.5‰ (75% between +12.5‰ and +18.5‰) and δ2H (δD) values from −140‰ to −30‰ (50% between −70‰ and −40‰). The illitic clay minerals have δ18O values that range from +5‰ to +26‰ (75% between +11.0‰ and +17.5‰) and δ2H values from −110‰ to −30‰ (65% between −70‰ and −45‰). The chloritic clay minerals have δ18O values that range between +0.0‰ and +20.0‰ (75% between +7‰ and +15‰) and δ2H values between −110‰ and −10‰ (40% between −80‰ and −60‰).

Gulf Coast sandstones have clay δ18O values that decrease and formation water δ18O values that increase with depth, approximating to the maintenance of isotopic equilibrium during burial. In contrast, North Sea basin sandstones have widely variable clay δ18O values despite having formation water δ18O values that, like the Gulf Coast basin, increase with depth. The variability of North Sea clay δ18O values is possibly related to (i) localized meteoric influx, inducing clay growth in exotic but transient water and (ii) initial equilibrium between water and clay that grew at moderate depth but failed to maintain equilibrium with the ambient water during continued burial. North Sea basin sandstones and waters have widely variable clay δ2H values and do not show any simple patterns. Extremely low clay δ2H values may be the result of localized petroleum–clay interactions.