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ABSTRACT

The Swan Hills Formation (Middle-Upper Devonian) of the Western Canada Basin is host to several NW-SE-trending gas fields developed in massive replacement dolostone. One of these, the Rosevear Field, contains two major dolostone trends along opposing margins of a marine channel that penetrates into a platform-reef complex. Dolostones consist predominantly of branching and bulbous strdmatoporoid floatstones and rudstones with well-developed moldic and vuggy porosity. Replacement dolomite is coarsely crystalline (100-600 μm), inclusion-rich, composed of euhedral through anhedral crystals and has a blotchy to homogeneous red cathodoluminescence. Geochemically, replacement dolomite is characterized by (i) nearly stoichiometric composition (50.1-51.1 mol% CaCO3), (ii) negative δ18O values (mean=-7.5‰, PDB) and (iii) variable 87Sr/86Sr ratios ranging from values similar to Late Devonian-Early Mississippian seawater (∼0.7082) to radiogenic compositions comparable to saddle dolomite cements (>0.7100).

Dolomitization began after widespread precipitation of early, equant calcite spar and after the onset of pressure solution, implying that replacement dolomite formed in a burial environment. Oxygen isotope data suggest that dolomite formed at 35-75°C, temperatures reached during burial in Late Devonian through Jurassic time, at minimum depths of 450 m. The linear NW-SE orientation of most dolomite fields in the Swan Hills Formation is suggestive of fault control on fluid circulation. Two models are proposed for fault-controlled circulation of dolomitizing fluids at the Rosevear Field. In the first, compaction-driven, updip fluid migration occurred in response to basin tilting commencing in the Late Palaeozoic. Deep basinal fluids migrating updip were focused into channel-margin sediments along fault conduits. The second model calls upon fault-controlled convective circulation of (i) warm Devonian-Mississippian seawater or (ii) Middle Devonian residual evaporitic brines.

The overlap in 87Sr/86Sr and δ18O compositions, and similar cathodoluminescence properties between replacement and saddle dolomites provide evidence for neomorphism of some replacement dolomite. Quantitative modelling of Sr and O isotopes and Sr abundances suggests partial equilibration of some replacement dolomite with hot radiogenic brines derived during deep burial of the Swan Hills Formation in the Late Cretaceous-Palaeocene. Interaction of replacement dolomite with deep brines led to enrichment in 87Sr while leaving δ18O similar to pre-neomorphism values.