Cross-Formational Flux of Aluminium and Potassium in Gulf Coast (USA) Sediments

  1. Richard H. Worden3 and
  2. Sadoon Morad4
  1. Mark Wilkinson1,
  2. R. Stuart Haszeldine1 and
  3. Kitty L. Milliken2

Published Online: 17 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch7

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones

How to Cite

Wilkinson, M., Haszeldine, R. S. and Milliken, K. L. (1999) Cross-Formational Flux of Aluminium and Potassium in Gulf Coast (USA) Sediments, in Clay Mineral Cements in Sandstones (eds R. H. Worden and S. Morad), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304336.ch7

Editor Information

  1. 3

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

  2. 4

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

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Geology and Geophysics, Grant Institute, Kings Buildings, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JW, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405105873

Online ISBN: 9781444304336



  • cross-formational flux of aluminium and potassium in Gulf Coast (USA) sediments;
  • debate on mobility of elements during sandstone diagenesis;
  • ICP–AES, inductively coupled plasma–atomic emission spectroscopy;
  • clay minerals - important authigenic cements within sandstones;
  • open-system versus closed-system;
  • advocates of aluminium transport - admitting problems of low aluminium solubility;
  • ‘mobile’ to ‘immobile’ element correlations


The diagenetic dissolution of minerals to form net porosity in oilfield sandstones requires export of major-element constituents. Mass-balance must exist at some size scale, however, this is difficult to identify owing to the depositional variability within sedimentary formations. We have taken sets of whole-rock geochemical data from the Frio Formation of the USA Gulf Coast, for both sandstones and enclosing shales. Graphs of ‘mobile’/‘immobile’ element ratios show a statistically significant decrease of K (mobile) with depth for sandstones, and a corresponding relative increase in Ti, Zr and Hf (immobile) in shales. Data for Al are also suggestive of a net flux from sandstones to shales, although of marginal statistical validity. Assuming that the sediment had an initially uniform chemical composition, then K and possibly Al are exported from sandstones into shales, despite the common assumption of Al immobility. There is insufficient export of K from sandstones to account for the import of K into shales, so another source of K must exist. However, there is probably Al conservation within the Frio Formation, as the calculated outflux from the sands and the influx from the shales approximately balance. More data are required to conclusively settle the question of Al mobility. Aluminium export potentially can preserve permeability within sandstones by reducing the volume of authigenic clay minerals precipitated.