Carbonate secondary porosity development in a polyphase paleokarst from Precambrian system: upper Sinian examples, North Tarim basin, northwest China


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Publication Date

January 2017


Carbonate karst is one of the research highlights in the field of carbonate reservoir geology. High porosity zones can develop in carbonate rocks which are modified by the karst. However, the carbonate porosity development and its evolution process in a polyphase paleokarst are rarely reported in the geological record. Here, the paper focuses on this point from the Precambrian Upper Sinian carbonate in the north Tarim basin, northwest China. Five outcrops and two wells reveal that the karstic porosity development of Upper Sinian carbonate was petrography-controlled of microbial dolostone and grain dolostone. The karstic porosities were in relation to three paleokarst phases: (1) eogenetic karst during depositional environment, (2) telogenetic karst at the end of late Sinian, and (3) hydrothermal karst in the early Permian. Eogenetic karst was related to frequent and short sea-level fluctuation, and was characterized by selective dissolution of intragranular dissolution porosity, moldic porosity, bird’s eye porosity, and intergranular dissolution porosity. Telogenetic karst was related to tectonic uplift, and was characteristic of non-selective dissolution of vugs and cavities with karst intensity increasing upward. Hydrothermal karst was related to geothermal events, and was featured by highly solution-enlarged porosities which mainly overprinted earlier telogenetic and eogenetic karst porosities. The suggested paleokarst model, combined with the related karstic porosity evolution process, will perfectly reveal its porosity development.


Paleokarst, Porosity, Microbial Dolostone, Upper Sinian, Tarim Basin