The role of the late Cimmerian unconformity for the distribution of kaolinite in the Gullfaks Field, northern North Sea



A study of the Middle Jurassic Rannoch Formation in the Gullfaks Field shows that there is no relationship between the content and distribution of kaolinite and location relative to the late Cimmerian unconformity. From petrographic data most of the kaolinite is interpreted to be detrital, and only traces of authigenic kaolinite are observed. Mass-balance calculations are used to provide guidelines as to the likelihood of kaolinite being formed and preserved in sandstones under the unconformity. The result of the calculations shows that the propagation rate of the dissolution front in the sandstones was probably on average slower than the erosion rates during the formation of the late Cimmerian unconformity. Hence, transformation of significant amounts of feldspar and mica to kaolinite probably did not take place within the sandstones which at present underlie the unconformity in the Gullfaks Field. Periods of exposure during formation of unconformities may thus be less effective causes of kaolinitization in sandstones than has been assumed.