Fluid flow reconstruction in karstified Panormide platform limestones (north-central Sicily): implications for hydrocarbon prospectivity in the Sicilian fold and thrust belt

Dewever, B., Berwouts, I., Swennen, R., Breesch, L. and Ellam, R.M. (2010) Fluid flow reconstruction in karstified Panormide platform limestones (north-central Sicily): implications for hydrocarbon prospectivity in the Sicilian fold and thrust belt. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 27(4), pp. 939-958. (doi: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2009.10.018)

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Diagenetic analysis based on field and petrographic observations, isotope and microthermometric data was used to reconstruct the fluid flow history of the Cretaceous shallow water limestones from the Panormide platform exposed in north-central Sicily. Analysis focused on diagenetic products in cavities and dissolution enlarged fractures of the karstified limestones that occur just below a regional unconformity. The fluid flow history could be broken down into five stages that were linked to the kinematic and burial history of the region. (1) Petrography (zoned cathodoluminescence and speleothem textures) and stable isotopes (6.5 < δ18OV-PDB < −3.5‰ and 0 < δ13CV-PDB < −14‰) indicate that the earliest calcite phase was associated with karstification during emergence of the platform. Limestone dissolution at this stage is important with regard to possible reservoir creation in the Panormide palaeogeographic domain. (2) Fine-grained micrite sedimentation, dated as latest Cretaceous by nannopalaeontology and its 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratio (0.7078), marks replacement by marine fluids during subsequent submergence of the karstified platform. (3) The following calcite cement was still precipitated by marine-derived fluids (−7.0 < δ18OV-PDB < −5.0‰ and −3.0 < δ13CV-PDB < 0.5‰/Tm = −2 to −5 °C), but at increasingly higher temperatures (Th = 60–120 °C). This has been interpreted as precipitation during Oligocene foredeep burial. (4) Hot (Th = 130–180 °C), low saline (Tm < −2.5 °C) fluids with increasingly higher calculated δ18OSMOW signatures (+6 to +14‰) subsequently invaded the karst system. These fluids most likely migrated during fold and thrust belt development. The low salinity and relatively high δ18OSMOW signatures of the fluids are interpreted to be the result of clay dewatering reactions. The presence of bitumen and associated fluorite with hydrocarbon inclusions at this stage in the paragenesis constrains the timing of oil migration in the region. (5) Finally, high saline fluids with elevated 87Sr/86Sr (0.7095–0.7105) signatures invaded the karst system. This last fluid flow event was possibly coeval with localized dolomitization and calcite cementation along high-angle faults of Pliocene age, as suggested by identical radiogenic signatures of these diagenetic products.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Fluid flow, oil migration, Karst, stable isotopes, microthermometry, Sicily
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellam, Professor Rob
Authors: Dewever, B., Berwouts, I., Swennen, R., Breesch, L., and Ellam, R.M.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Marine and Petroleum Geology
ISSN (Online):1873-4073
Published Online:06 December 2009

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