Thermal evolution, fluid flow, and fracture development related to the structuration of the South Pyrenean Foreland Basin
Abstract:The E-W trending South Pyrenean Foreland Basin, formed during the upper Cretaceous and the early Miocene due to the collision between Iberian and European plates, is filled by marine to continental deposits affected by a set of successive southvergent thrusts.
In order to constrain the links between fracture development, thermal regime, and fluid flow in the basin, we estimated temperatures of formation and C-O isotope signatures of fracture-filling minerals (veins), maximum paleo-temperatures of sediments, and the timing and orientation of major fracture sets.
The isotopic composition of 150 veins and sediment samples has been measured. Peak temperatures of 100 bulk rocks and veins have been estimated, using Raman spectroscopy, vitrinite reflectance, fluid inclusion microthermometry and mass-47 clumped isotopes. The orientation of ~5000 joints and veins has been used to link major tectonic events to fracture development.
Most primary fluid inclusions show moderate salinities (~2.5 wt%), compatible with connate or evolved meteoric waters. Fluids were generally in thermal and isotopic equilibrium with host sediments, suggesting a low fluid-rock ratio, and thus a limited impact of fractures on fluid-flow.
Peak temperatures (T max) decrease southward, from ~240°C in Cretaceous to Eocene sediments close to the axial zone, to ~60°C. In a same location dominant compaction joints were mineralized close to T max, ~40°C higher than tectonic shear veins. All fracture orientations were likely controlled by Pyrenean shortening. Genetic relationships between fracture sets are currently under investigation.
Finally, temperatures of 240°C measured in Eocene sediments cannot be explained by balanced cross sections using geothermal gradient expected in foreland basins (20-25°C/km). 1D thermal modeling is being performed to explain this thermal anomaly, which could result from high heat flow following mid-Cretaceous extension, the ingress of hot fluids, or undocumented tectonic loading.