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DIAGENESIS, CLIMATE, and POROSITY in CARBONATE ROCKS Pore systems in sedimentary carbonates are complex in their geometry and

genesis. The Choquette and Pray (1970) classification of porosity in carbonate rocks is a useful starting point in terms of a genetically oriented description of carbonate porosity (Table 2-4). Four major geologic stages form a practical basis for dating the origin and modification of porosity, independent of the stage of lithification. These are (1) formation of depositional porosity by clastic accumulation (e.g., carbonate sand deposition in shoalwater environment at platform margin), or accretionary precipitation (e.g., binding of encrusting calcareous algae) (depositional stage); (2) stage between deposition and burial below the influence of surface processes (eogenetic stage) (e.g., early marine cement, early vadose cement, marine phreatic, or shallow meteoric phreatic cement); (3) passage of the deposit below the zone of major influence from surface processes (mesogenetic stage); (e.g., deep burial cementation or dissolution); and (4) return of the carbonate rock into the zone of influence of processes operating from an erosion surface or unconformity (telogenetic stage), (e.g., late karst dissolution and cave formation following uplift or during long-term subaerial exposure at a sea-level lowstand). The importance of depositional porosity is out of proportion to its short duration. Depositional porosity may form two thirds or more of the volume of many carbonate muds. In coarser, well-sorted carbonate sediments, depositional porosity commonly forms more than a third of the bulk volume. Most depositional porosity in carbonates is interparticle or shelter in origin. The subsequent stages of carbonate porosity recognize the importance of early and late near-surface processes to porosity evolution, and the differences between the two stages. Early, eogenetic, porosity generally has fabricselective characteristics, and the late, telogenetic, porosity does not. Mesogenetic processes can play a significant role in porosity evolution where undersaturated, CO2 charged waters may form moldic and vugular porosity. In most cases, however, the affect of post-depositional processes are to reduce depositional porosity through volume reduction and cementation. It is where pore systems are preserved to some extent that there is significant potential for hydrocarbon reservoir development. In spite of potentially significant diagenetic alteration, the porosity and permeability systems of many, if not most, carbonate reservoirs generally can be related directly back to facies and textural controls. For example, coarse, well-sorted carbonate sands

that become packstones and grainstones, and retain significant interparticle porosity comprise many of the best subsurface reservoirs. These sands are most commonly found at platform margins. Platform interior peloidal sands, and peritdal fenestral facies can retain, respectively, interparticle and shelter/moldic porosity. Dolomitization may allow retention and minor enhancement of this porosity. Stratigraphic architecture and lithofacies distribution are thus critical to predicting porosity and permeability. Climate can have a major impact on diagenesis and pore system history. During the Phanerozoic, the earth has undergone both greenhouse and icehouse conditions. Each type of climatic condition will affect carbonates differently (Read, 1995). Greenhouse times are characterized by small amplitude sea level changes, typically from 10-50 meters (Goldhammer et al., 1990; Koerschner and Read, 1989; Wright, 1992). Greenhouse reservoirs tend to develop in carbonate sand shoal and/or mud dominated tidal flat facies that stack in aggradational or gently prograding ramp geometries. Reservoirs in platform interiors tend to be highly stratified, whereas, further seaward, subtidal grainstones, in high energy platform margin settings tend to stack and form more homogeneous reservoirs. They display vertical communication through pore systems dominated by primary porosity. In humid settings, the best quality reservoirs are generally developed in carbonate sand shoal complexes. If an arid climate prevails and dolomitization is pervasive, thin, laterally discrete, dolomitized peritidal facies can be significant reservoirs. Parasequence caps exhibit poorly developed subaerial features. Although they may be exposed for thousands of years, small base level falls prevent significant drops in water tables and reduce meteoric diagenetic effects. Second- and third-order falls may be more significant and can lead to enhanced meteoric diagenesis, soil formation, and /or silcrete/caliche caps on sequence boundaries. Ice-house times are characterized by high amplitude (60-100+ meters) sea level fluctuations. Meter-scale (1-10 meters), disconformity bounded parasequences comprise many platform successions. Productivity can vary over short distances, resulting in unfilled accommodation, and considerable lateral variability in parasequence thickness and internal facies distribution. Deeper muddy subtidal facies, shallow shoaling grainy facies, and facies exhibiting subaerial exposure may be juxtaposed over short lateral distances. Peritidal facies are less common because sea level falls occur at a high frequency, preventing large-scale progradation. Ice-house reservoirs thus tend to be more compartmentalized than greenhouse reservoirs.

Large amplitude, ice-house sea level fluctuations are significant and cause large-scale lateral and vertical migration of diagenetic zones. Facies deep within platforms are subjected to repeated interaction with marine and meteoric fluids in vadose and phreatic environments. Subaerial caps are well developed at parasequence tops. The extent of paleosol, caliche, silcrete, and karsting is dependent on the climatic conditions at the time of exposure (Perkins, 1977; Beach, 1982). Humid conditions lead to considerable leaching of less stable carbonate minerals (i.e., aragonite and hi-Mg calcite) forming significant secondary porosity (i.e., molds, vugs, caves, caverns, etc.). Arid settings tend to allow preservation of original primary porosity. The lack of meteoric water allows primary pores to remain open, and allows preservation of permeable networks. If dolomitization is pervasive, secondary porosity, such as intercrystalline and moldic porosity may occur in association with primary pore networks. In arid settings, caliche/silcrete will form extensive nonporous caps to parasequences.