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Relationship of diagenetic chlorite rims to depositional facies in Lower Cretaceous reservoir sandstones of the Scotian Basin



The relationship between diagenetic chlorite rims and depositional facies in deltaic strata of the Lower Cretaceous Missisauga Formation was investigated using a combination of electron microprobe, bulk geochemistry and X-ray diffraction data. The succession studied comprises several stacked parasequences. The delta progradational facies association includes: (i) fluvial or distributary channel sandstones (some with tidal influence); (ii) thick-bedded delta-front graded beds of sandstone interpreted as resulting from fluvial hyperpycnal flow during floods and storms; and (iii) more distal muddier delta-front and prodeltaic facies. The transgressive facies association includes lag conglomerate, siderite-cemented muddy sandstone and mudstone, and bioclastic sandy limestone. Chlorite rims are absent in the fluvial facies and best developed in thick sandstones lacking mudstone baffles. Good quality chlorite rims are well correlated with Ti in bulk geochemistry. Ti is a proxy for Fe availability, principally from the breakdown of abundant detrital ilmenite (FeTiO3). Under conditions of sea floor diagenesis, the abrupt decrease in sedimentation rate at transgressive surfaces caused progressive shallowing of the sulphate-depletion level and of the overlying Eh-controlled diagenetic zones, resulting in conditions suitable for diagenetic formation of berthierine to migrate upwards through the packet of reservoir sandstones. This early diagenetic berthierine suppressed silica cementation and later recrystallized to chlorite. Thick euhedral outer chlorite rims were precipitated from formation water in sandstone lacking muddy baffles on this chlorite substrate and inhibited late carbonate cementation. This study thus shows that the preservation of porosity by chlorite rims is a two-stage process. Rapidly deposited delta-front turbidite facies create early diagenetic conditions that eventually lead to the formation of chlorite rims, but the best quality chlorite rims are restricted to sandstones with high permeability during burial diagenesis.