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Dolomite characteristics and diagenetic model of the Calcari Grigi Group (Asiago Plateau, Southern Alps – Italy): an example of multiphase dolomitization



A multidisciplinary study, conducted over the carbonate platform deposits of the Liassic Calcari Grigi Group (Southern Alps), highlighted how the use of outcrop analogues can contribute to better define the distribution of dolomitic bodies related to fault networks, to characterize the petrophysical properties of the dolomitic sequence and unravel a complex diagenetic history. This study was carried out in the Asiago Plateau (southernmost part of the eastern Southern Alps, northern Italy) which provides excellent outcrops of the Jurassic Calcari Grigi Group. The dolomitization of the Jurassic sequence is variable in terms of stratigraphic extension and geographic distribution. In the studied localities the dolomitization is generally limited to the Mount Zugna Formation and is characterized by an undulatory front, with ‘sub-vertical dolomitic chimneys’ along the major faults. Within this unit, and often associated with faults, stacked high-porosity and permeability bed-parallel dolomitic bodies are developed that show excellent petrophysical properties. The dolomitic intervals are characterized by pervasive unimodal and patchy polymodal dolomite crystals. Thin section, cathodoluminescence, isotopic and fluid inclusion analyses were used to constrain the paragenetic evolution of the sequence which is similar in all the studied localities. The first dolomitization stage is marked by zoned dolomite crystals with a dull luminescent core. The porosity is thought to have increased after this stage, with dark blue luminescent dolomite accompanied by the corrosion of older crystals. The appearance of saddle dolomite marks the onset of the porosity reduction stage, ending with the infilling of vugs and the remaining open pores with calcite cement. The diagenetic evolution locally stopped at the saddle dolomite stage with the complete occlusion of the remaining pores. Paragenetic and fluid-inclusion data suggest an evolutionary trend of increasing temperatures and decreasing salinity toward brackish fluids responsible for dolomite and calcite precipitation. The integration of the available data seem to indicate that the diagenetic evolution of the study area is related to: (i) the interplay between evolving fluids (from marine to brackish); (ii) the burial of the sequence (increasing temperature); and (iii) the evolution of the hydrogeological system (fault and fracture network, fluid mixing). This complex paragenetic evolution is strongly linked to the evolution of the porosity framework that evolved from a good, widespread network in the early stages of the burial history to a confined system in the later stages due to reduction of porosity by the deposition of late calcite and dolomite cements.