Origin and Spatial Distribution of Early Vadose and Phreatic Calcite Cements in the Zia Formation, Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico, USA

  1. Sadoon Morad
  1. J. R. Beckner and
  2. P. S. Mozley

Published Online: 17 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304893.ch2

Carbonate Cementation in Sandstones: Distribution Patterns and Geochemical Evolution

Carbonate Cementation in Sandstones: Distribution Patterns and Geochemical Evolution

How to Cite

Beckner, J. R. and Mozley, P. S. (1998) Origin and Spatial Distribution of Early Vadose and Phreatic Calcite Cements in the Zia Formation, Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico, USA, in Carbonate Cementation in Sandstones: Distribution Patterns and Geochemical Evolution (ed S. Morad), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304893.ch2

Author Information

  1. Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM 87801, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 29 MAY 1998

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632047772

Online ISBN: 9781444304893

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Keywords:

  • origin and spatial distribution of early vadose and phreatic calcite cements in Zia Formation;
  • Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico, USA;
  • Miocene Zia Formation;
  • sandstone petrograhpy;
  • calcite cementation types;
  • isotope geochemistry

Summary

The Miocene Zia Formation consists of sands and muds deposited in fluvial, aeolian and playa lake environments. Although much of the formation is poorly consolidated, resistant zones of calcite cementation are common. These range in size from isolated nodules to tabular cemented zones several metres thick that extend for over 2 km laterally. The calcite cemented zones are highly complex, exhibiting a wide range of macroscopic and microscopic textures and geometries. After considering a combination of microscopic, macroscopic and geochemical characteristics, we have inferred the environment of precipitation (i.e. pedogenic, vadose non-pedogenic, phreatic) of the principal types of cementation. Nodules and rhizocretions with micritic fabrics and alveolar structures are inferred to be vadose carbonates. Ovoid or elongate concretions, characterized by blocky spar cements and preservation of primary sedimentary structures, are inferred to be phreatic carbonates. Most cemented units in the Zia Formation reflect characteristics of both phreatic and vadose zone cementation (e.g. preservation of sedimentary structures plus rhizocretions and alveolar microtextures). δ13C values for vadose cement tend to be heavier and δ18O values tend to be similar or slightly lighter than phreatic cements. δ13C and δ18O values for units with mixed features tend to have intermediate values. Most cementation types that exhibit a mixture of features may reflect past fluctuations of the water table, where vadose cements were moved into the phreatic zone. Vadose zone cementation occurred principally in association with soil development, whereas phreatic zone cementation occurred preferentially in zones of high primary permeability. In many cases early vadose cements provided nucleation sites for later phreatic cementation. Tabular units in the Zia Formation are often laterally extensive, decreasing potential reservoir/aquifer quality by forming significant barriers to vertical fluid flow. These barriers could result in compartmentalization of the reservoir/aquifer, and extensively reduce production if wells were screened on only one side of a cemented layer.