The Robustness of Clumped Isotope Temperatures to Bond Reordering: Evidence from Deeply Buried Carbonate Reservoirs

Monday, 15 December 2014
John MacDonald1, Cedric M John1 and Jean-Pierre Girard2, (1)Imperial College London, London, SW7, United Kingdom, (2)TOTAL - Centre Scientifique et Technique Jean Feger, Pau, France
Numerous studies have shown that clumped isotope thermometry records the temperature of precipitation for carbonate minerals in surface and near-surface environments. However, the ability of a mineral to retain its clumped isotope signature at deeper, hotter burial conditions is still debated. Dolomite has been shown to be more robust to clumped isotope bond reordering than calcite. In this contribution we measure clumped isotopes in calcite veins from Southern Europe that have been buried to up to 7 km to test the robustness of calcite and dolomite to bond reordering.

First, we analysed finely crystalline dolostone matrix samples collected in industry wells from Southwest France and buried to between 2 and 5.5 km, Results indicated a temperatures of ~40-60 °C, interpreted to represent formation in an early burial environment. By contrast, coarser dolomite crystals that are petrographically distinct from the fine-grained dolomite record higher temperatures and are interpreted to reflect a deeper, hotter phase of dolomite formation.

Preliminary analysis of a calcite vein from a Cretaceous dolostone in Southern Europe buried to 6.3 km records a temperature of 41±3 °C; the calcite matrix around this records a similarly low temperature. This is well below the present-day well temperature of 130-140 °C.

Our results indicate that both calcite and dolomite are not affected by bond reordering at the range of depths and temperatures investigated here. Furthermore, this suggests that clumped isotope thermometry can be applied to deeply-buried samples (i.e. >5km).