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Keywords:

  • Cementation;
  • chalk;
  • diagenesis;
  • North Sea;
  • Ontong Java Plateau;
  • porosity;
  • stylolites

Abstract

Comparison of chalk on the Ontong Java Plateau and chalk in the Central North Sea indicates that, whereas pressure dissolution is controlled by effective burial stress, pore-filling cementation is controlled by temperature. Effective burial stress is caused by the weight of all overlying water and sediments as counteracted by the pressure in the pore fluid, so the regional overpressure in the Central North Sea is one reason why the two localities have different relationships between temperature and effective burial stress. In the chalk of the Ontong Java Plateau the onset of calcite-silicate pressure dissolution around 490 m below sea floor (bsf) corresponds to an interval of waning porosity-decline, and even the occurrence of proper stylolites from 830 m bsf is accompanied by only minor porosity reduction. Because opal is present, the pore-water is relatively rich in Si which through the formation of Ca–silica complexes causes an apparent super-saturation of Ca and retards cementation. The onset of massive pore-filling cementation at 1100 m bsf may be controlled by the temperature-dependent transition from opal-CT to quartz. In the stylolite-bearing chalk of two wells in the Gorm and Tyra fields, the nannofossil matrix shows recrystallization but only minor pore-filling cement, whereas microfossils are cemented. Cementation in Gorm and Tyra is thus partial and has apparently not been retarded by opal-controlled pore-water. A possible explanation is that, due to the relatively high temperature, silica has equilibrated to quartz before the onset of pressure dissolution and thus, in this case, dissolution and precipitation of calcite have no lag. This temperature versus effective burial stress induced difference in diagenetic history is of particular relevance when exploring for hydrocarbons in normally pressured chalk, while most experience has been accumulated in the over-pressured chalk of the central North Sea.