Overpressure development in sedimentary basins induced by chemo-mechanical compaction of sandstones

Abstract : Mechanisms of overpressure build-up resulting from chemically-induced compaction are investigated by considering that intergranular pressure-solution, controlled by temperature and effective stresses, is the dominant process of chemical deformation in sandstones. The numerical simulations are performed using a thermo-poro-mechanical tool based on the finite element method specifically devised to deal with sedimentary basin modeling. At the material level, purely mechanical and chemo-mechanical deformations are respectively addressed by means of plastic and viscoplastic constitutive components. Porosity data of the Middle Jurassic Garn Formation from the Haltenbanken area of the Mid-Norwegian Continental Shelf are taken as reference for calibration of the sandstone model to be used on synthetic cases of a siliciclastic basin in oedometric conditions. Two situations are proposed involving different depositional sequences of sandy and shaly sediments with the aim to assess the permeability effect in the numerical model. The results have shown that early overpressure development in low permeability formations preserves sandstone porosities by reducing effective stresses and thus retarding pressure-solution compaction, whereas higher effective stresses associated with permeable depositional environments may lead to important chemo-mechanical deformation, resulting in low porosity sandstones and significant overpressure generation at later stages of basin history. An additional case is finally analyzed to investigate the consequences of pressure-solution inhibition due to diagenetic grain coating in a sandstone reservoir. The simulation resulted in porosity preservation and lower overpressure values, showing that a sedimentary basin submitted to an important level of chemo-mechanical compaction can present substantially higher overpressure distribution than basins where this phenomenon did not take place. The paper highlights the importance of integrating stresses, fluid pressure and temperature to represent the porous material evolution in order to describe the geological state of sedimentary basins.
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A. Brüch, N. Guy, S. Maghous. Overpressure development in sedimentary basins induced by chemo-mechanical compaction of sandstones. Marine and Petroleum Geology, Elsevier, 2019, 104, pp.217-230. ⟨10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2019.03.025⟩. ⟨hal-02122951⟩

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