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Volume 31 Issue 5
Oct.  2020
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Sunday E. Okunuwadje, David MacDonald, Stephen Bowden. Diagenetic and Reservoir Quality Variation of Miocene Sandstone Reservoir Analogues from Three Basins of Southern California, USA. Journal of Earth Science, 2020, 31(5): 930-949. doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7
Citation: Sunday E. Okunuwadje, David MacDonald, Stephen Bowden. Diagenetic and Reservoir Quality Variation of Miocene Sandstone Reservoir Analogues from Three Basins of Southern California, USA. Journal of Earth Science, 2020, 31(5): 930-949. doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7

Diagenetic and Reservoir Quality Variation of Miocene Sandstone Reservoir Analogues from Three Basins of Southern California, USA

doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7
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  • The Miocene sandstone deposits in the Southern California region are important hydrocarbon reservoirs. However, their development has been very challenging due to the wide variability in their reservoir quality. These sandstones have been studied from three sedimentary basins by petrographic thin section, scanning electron microscope, and X-ray diffraction to evaluate and compare the influence of diagenesis on their reservoir quality in these basins. Four petrofacies, namely P1 (sand injectite or dyke), P2 (sub-marine fan), P3 (turbidite and marine-influenced alluvial fans) and P4 (continental sandstones) have been identified. P1 and P2 characterise the sandstones in the San Joaquin forearc basin and are affected by kaolinite and extensive early calcite diagenesis. P3 and P4 delineate the sandstones in the Cajon Valley and Salton Trough strike-slip basins and are dominated by smectite, mixed illite-smectite, early calcite and late calcite diagenesis. Early calcite cement in P3 and P4 is in lower proportion than in P1 and P2. Although the dissolution of these sandstones by acidic fluids did not have a pattern, it, however, has the most considerable influence on P2 creating moldic pores which are expected to increase pore connectivity. The relatively abundant dissolution pores in P2, together with the absence of late authigenic calcite and illite clay in comparison to the other petrofacies studied are likely to make this sandstone facies the best reservoir targets in the Southern California region. These rocks are analogous to producing reservoirs in the region. However, because, petroleum accumulation in these reservoirs are compartmentalized by early calcite cement, maximum recovery using acidified fluids is recommended to dissolve the calcite-filled pores in order to increase connectivity of their pore network and enhance flow potential.
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Diagenetic and Reservoir Quality Variation of Miocene Sandstone Reservoir Analogues from Three Basins of Southern California, USA

doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7

Abstract: The Miocene sandstone deposits in the Southern California region are important hydrocarbon reservoirs. However, their development has been very challenging due to the wide variability in their reservoir quality. These sandstones have been studied from three sedimentary basins by petrographic thin section, scanning electron microscope, and X-ray diffraction to evaluate and compare the influence of diagenesis on their reservoir quality in these basins. Four petrofacies, namely P1 (sand injectite or dyke), P2 (sub-marine fan), P3 (turbidite and marine-influenced alluvial fans) and P4 (continental sandstones) have been identified. P1 and P2 characterise the sandstones in the San Joaquin forearc basin and are affected by kaolinite and extensive early calcite diagenesis. P3 and P4 delineate the sandstones in the Cajon Valley and Salton Trough strike-slip basins and are dominated by smectite, mixed illite-smectite, early calcite and late calcite diagenesis. Early calcite cement in P3 and P4 is in lower proportion than in P1 and P2. Although the dissolution of these sandstones by acidic fluids did not have a pattern, it, however, has the most considerable influence on P2 creating moldic pores which are expected to increase pore connectivity. The relatively abundant dissolution pores in P2, together with the absence of late authigenic calcite and illite clay in comparison to the other petrofacies studied are likely to make this sandstone facies the best reservoir targets in the Southern California region. These rocks are analogous to producing reservoirs in the region. However, because, petroleum accumulation in these reservoirs are compartmentalized by early calcite cement, maximum recovery using acidified fluids is recommended to dissolve the calcite-filled pores in order to increase connectivity of their pore network and enhance flow potential.

Sunday E. Okunuwadje, David MacDonald, Stephen Bowden. Diagenetic and Reservoir Quality Variation of Miocene Sandstone Reservoir Analogues from Three Basins of Southern California, USA. Journal of Earth Science, 2020, 31(5): 930-949. doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7
Citation: Sunday E. Okunuwadje, David MacDonald, Stephen Bowden. Diagenetic and Reservoir Quality Variation of Miocene Sandstone Reservoir Analogues from Three Basins of Southern California, USA. Journal of Earth Science, 2020, 31(5): 930-949. doi: 10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7
  • Miocene sandstone deposits are prominent stratigraphic units in the southern California region. These sandstones are important economic targets because they host huge Cenozoic petroleum accumulation particularly in the San Joaquin Basin (Peters et al., 2007; Harrison and Graham, 1999; Mahon et al., 1998; Bodnar, 1990; Schultz et al., 1989). However, despite being prolific hydrocarbon reservoirs, the reservoir quality of these sandstones has been a major concern for their hydrocarbon prospectivity and development (Caracciolo et al., 2013; Boles and Ramseyer, 1987). The variability in reservoir quality of these sandstone deposits, therefore, requires an assessment of the factors controlling their petrophysical properties.

    Reservoir quality (porosity and permeability) is substantially controlled by depositional facies, detrital composition and diagenetic alterations during burial (Beigi et al., 2017; Lan et al., 2016; Saïag et al., 2016; Zahid et al., 2016; Lai et al., 2015; Bjørlykke, 2014; McKinley et al., 2011). The depositional facies control the distribution of textural properties (e.g., grain size, shape and sorting), sand body architecture and the initial porosity and permeability (Lan et al., 2016; Saïag et al., 2016; Bjørlykke, 2014; Morad et al., 2010, 2000). The detrital composition, which is influenced by such factors as provenance, paleoclimate and tectonics (Li et al., 2014; Amorosi and Zuffa, 2011) controls reservoir quality by governing diagenetic alterations of the sediments through differential compaction of the framework grains. It also controls diagenetic alterations by dictating cementation and dissolution through the interactions between the framework grains and pore water with progressive burial (Lan et al., 2016; Primmer et al., 1997; Bloch, 1994). These diagenetic processes either reduce or enhance reservoir quality and therefore, determine the final porosity and permeability of the reservoir rock that is available for hosting an economically viable hydrocarbon accumulation.

    There have been few diagenetic studies on the Miocene sandstone reservoirs in the San Joaquin Basin (e.g., Feldman et al., 1993; Hayes and Boles, 1993; Taylor and Soule, 1993; Boles and Ramseyer, 1987). However, not much is known about the reservoir quality of these sandstones in the Cajon Valley and Salton Trough despite being laterally equivalent. Up to date, there is no evidence of any regional study to assess the diagenetic processes affecting the reservoir quality of these sandstones. As exploration effort intensifies in the region (Jung et al., 2014; Svensen et al., 2007), the diagenetic evaluation of these sandstones becomes crucial to understanding the post-depositional factors controlling their reservoir quality distribution. This is necessary for an accurate appraisal of the economic viability of future petroleum discoveries occurring in these sandstones. Such a study would also help to constrain the petrophysical character of these rocks for developing appropriate strategies for enhancing oil recovery from their reservoirs.

    This paper presents the results of the diagenetic studies of a section of the Miocene sandstones exposed in the San Joaquin Valley, Cajon Valley and the Salton Trough. Although, these three basins are isolated from each other by tectonic highs (Fig. 1), however, their tectonic evolution is related to the complex evolution of the Pacific-North America Plate boundary. These three basins too, also contain similar Late Cenozoic depositional systems ranging from alluvial to turbidite fans. The goals of the research are to determine the diagenetic factors controlling the reservoir quality distribution of these sandstones, establish their paragenetic sequence and compare their diagenetic variation in the three basins.

    Figure 1.  Map showing study align="left"ocations (modified from Parrish, 2006).

  • The geology of Southern California is dominated by the complex evolution of the Pacific-North America Plate boundary. This region comprises several geological provinces differentiated by distinct tectonic features and bounded by major active faults including the San Andreas, San Jacinto and Garlock faults. Three of these provinces (the San Joaquin Valley, the Cajon Valley, and the Salton Trough, Fig. 1) contain the Miocene sandstones which form the subject of this paper.

    The San Joaquin Basin is a complex depositional setting formed initially as a forearc basin during the Late Mesozoic–Early Cenozoic convergence between the Pacific and North American plates (Bridges and Castle, 2003; Nilsen and Sylvester, 1999; Dickinson, 1995; Goodman and Malin, 1992). However, through most of the Cenozoic time, the basin evolved tectonically to a strike-slip type and then to transpressional margin (Cecil et al., 2014; Peters et al., 2007; Scheirer and Magoon, 2007). Tectonic subsidence of the basin was only minor throughout its evolution except for a few isolated local uplifts, which resulted in minor disconformities and unconformities (Ramseyer and Boles, 1986). The sedimentary fills of the basin are mainly of Tertiary age and sourced from the Sierra Nevada Mountains bounding the basin towards the east and the California Coast Ranges to the west of the basin (Peters et al., 2007; Schultz et al., 1989; Boles and Ramseyer, 1987). Although most of the sedimentary rocks are marine in origin, however, non-marine sediments have been found along the eastern margin of the basin and grade westwards to marine (Peters et al., 2007; Ramseyer and Boles, 1986).

    The Cajon Valley, on the other hand, is a small, elongate continental strike-slip basin formed between the San Gabriel Mountain (western boundary) and San Bernardino Mountain (eastern boundary) on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert (Fig. 1, Smiley et al., 2018; Stang, 2013; Tian et al., 2007). The basin developed as a strike-slip basin during early phases of Punchbowl faulting in the Middle Miocene with over 1 km thick sequence of sedimentary rocks of Miocene age originally named Punchbowl Formation by Noble (1954). These rocks are juxtaposed against basement rocks consisting of Precambrian gneiss, Cretaceous schist and granodiorite by the current active San Andreas fault and the inactive Cajon Valley fault (Stang, 2013). The sedimentary fills of the basin grades from marine to non-marine, suggesting deltaic sedimentation in the Cajon area during the Miocene (Stang, 2013).

    Like the Cajon Valley, the Salton Trough is a strike-slip basin extending from southern California to the southern end of the Gulf of California. The basin is bounded to the west by the igneous-metamorphic complex of the Peninsular Ranges and the east by the San Andreas fault in the region of the Salton Sea (Fig. 1, Dorsey et al., 2011; Schmitt and Hulen, 2008; Hulen and Pulka, 2001; Watkins, 1992; Heizler and Harrison, 1991). The sediments in the basin were deposited from the Colorado River from its origin in the Miocene until Mid-Pleistocene which marks the onset of the Colorado River delta build-up following a fall in sea level (Younker et al., 1982). Accumulation of deltaic sediments at the northern part of the basin during this period cause topographic separation of the trough from the Gulf of California (Younker et al., 1982).

  • The sandstone samples for this study were obtained from a section of the Miocene clastic successions exposed along the Chico Martinez Creek-Temblor Range in the Bakersfield, San Joaquin Basin. These sandstones were also sampled in the Cajon Valley at the junction of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, and along the Fish Creek Wash in the Salton Trough (Fig. 2). These sandstones were studied by petrographic methods involving optical microscope, scanning electron microscope and X-ray diffraction. For optical microscopic analysis, a portion of the sandstone samples was prepared and impregnated with blue epoxy to facilitate petrographic recognition of porosity. The modal composition of the sandstones was obtained by counting at least 300 points per thin section using a standard polarising microscope with 40, 100, 200, and 400 magnifications supported by Infinity Analyse Lumenera software 6.0 and Endeeper Petroledge software 3.2.0 version. The current mineralogical composition of sandstone is presented as a Quartz-Feldspar-Lithic (QFL) ternary diagram according to the classification scheme of Folk et al. (1980). The grain size was measured along the long axis of the point-counted grains using the rectangle measuring tool of the Infinity Analyse software version 6.0 attached to the petrographic microscope. The data collected were analysed statistically for the mean grain size using IBM SPSS statistics version 25 software. Sorting was calculated from the value of the mean grain size and ranked following the method of Blott and Pye (2001). The proportion of primary porosity, secondary porosity, detrital grains, and observed authigenic phases in thin sections were quantified microscopically from the point count. The extent of compaction during the diagenesis of these sandstones was assessed from petrographic observation by the type of grain-to-grain contact which may be either a point, long, concave-convex or sutured type. The intensity of compaction and the degree of porosity loss were also examined using the methods of Houseknecht (1987) and Lundegard (1992) from Eqs. 1 and 2.

    Figure 2.  Stratigraphic log (a) Chico Martinez Creek-Temblor Range, Bakersfield, San Joaquin Basin; (b) Cajon Valley between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains; (c) Fish Creek Wash, Salton Trough. T. Temblor Formation (Buttonbed Member), RR. Red Rock Formation.

    where COPL. compaction porosity loss; CEPL. cementation porosity loss; CEM. total cement; OP. original porosity (%).

    Original porosity (OP) values were obtained using the methods of Beard and Weyl (1973). Intergranular volume (IGV %) was determined from point-count data and is equal to the sum of the remaining intergranular porosity, pore-filling cement and matrix (Rahman and Worden, 2016).

    The pore geometry, the morphology of cement types, and paragenetic relationships were studied on gold-coated sample chips using an ABT-60 automated scanning electron microscope (SEM) instrument equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray analyser. For the qualitative assessment of the cement types and the overall mineralogy of the sample, carbon-coated polished block of each of the sandstone samples was studied using a back-scattered electron detector (BSE) inbuilt in the ABT SEM instrument. The purpose of the gold- and carbon-coating of the samples was to take away the electric charge that builds up on the sample surface during electron bombardment and to increase the signal to noise ratio. The ABT SEM instrument was operated at an accelerated voltage of 15 kV and a current range of 8–12 nA.

    A portion each of the samples was also analysed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) method using a PANalytical X'pert powder X-ray diffractometer. The samples were crushed using a micromill and distilled water for 10 min. They were then dried overnight in a low-temperature oven and powdered using agate pestle and mortar. A copper X-ray source operating at 45 kV and 40 mA was used. Powder samples were loaded into cavity holders and rotated continuously during the scan, completing one rotation every 2 s from 2 theta angle: 5°–60° Operation of the XRD was controlled using "HighScore Plus®" analysis software and automated Rietveld refinement methods with reference patterns from the International Centre for Diffraction Data and Powder Diffraction File-2, 2008. To obtain the clay fraction for further XRD investigation, each bulk sample was first dispersed in a deionised water column, disaggregated and decarbonated with a 0.2 M HCL solution and washed several times. Thereafter, the clay size fractions (< 2 µm) were separated from the bulk samples by settling in a water column. The obtained clay was air-dried at room temperature and treated with ethylene glycol in order to identify expandable clay minerals. These glycolated-treated samples were loaded and scanned from 2 theta angle from 2°–20°.

  • Six sandstone lithofacies (two from Location A, one from Location B, and three from Location C) were identified based on the dominant lithological characteristics which include texture, mineral composition, sorting, and sedimentary structure. These are (1) fine-grained sand injectite; (2) medium-grained planar cross-bedded sandstone; (3) coarse-grained thick-bedded sandstone; (4) medium-grained massive bedded sandstone; (5) conglomeratic sandstone and; (6) medium-grained trough cross-bedded sandstone.

    Lithofacies 1 occurs as sand injectite or sand dyke within the marine shales of the Monterey Formation (Fig. 2a). Samples of this lithofacies are calcareous and consist of grey-brown fine to medium-grained sandstone with traces of very fine and coarse-size sand grains. The grains are triangular, lath-shaped, or irregularly polygonal with predominantly sharp and angular corners. Few of the grains, however, have rounded corners (Appendixes 1a, 1b). The sandstones are largely moderately well sorted (Fig. 3e, an average of 0.63 for sorting coefficient).

    Figure 3.  (a)–(d) Triangular plots used for classifying the sandstones; (e) bivariate plot of mean size vs. sorting meaning of lithofaciesa=a stratigraphic unit with a distinct lithologic feature or rock type.

    Lithofacies 2 is the planar cross-bedded sandstone conformably underlying the marine shales of the Monterey Formation at Location A (Fig. 2a). Samples of this lithofacies are light-grey, calcareous and show traces of bioturbation. The sandstones are predominantly medium grained with traces of fine and coarse-size sand grains. The grains are lath-shaped or irregularly polygonal with angular to round corners. The grains are mostly well sorted (Figs. 3e, S1e, an average of 0.49 for sorting coefficient).

    Lithofacies 3 unconformably overlies the crystalline basement rocks at Location B and consists of thick-bedded sandstones with massive to planar cross-bedding. This lithofacies is interbedded with lignite and siltstone beds and form an amalgamated multistorey braided channel-fill facies association (Fig. 2b). Samples of this lithofacies are grey to buff, non-calcareous, and consist of fine to very coarse-grained sandstones with pebbles. The grains are triangular, lath-shaped, or irregularly polygonal with predominantly sharp and angular edges. The pebbly grains show more rounded edges than the sand grains (Appendix 2a). The sandstones are mostly poorly sorted (Fig. 3e, an average of 1.0 for sorting coefficient).

    Lithofacies 4 overlies the alluvial continental Elephant Trees Formation at Location C and consists of marine turbidite sandstone unit with mudstone and basalt, or megabreccia interbeds (Fig. 2c). Samples of this lithofacies are calcareous and consist of greyish-green very fine to medium-grained sandstones with the rare occurrence of coarse-size sand grains. Pebbles and siltstones are present only in trace amount. The grains are lath-shaped or irregularly polygonal with angular to round edges. Sorting varies from moderate to poor (Fig. 3e) with an average value of 0.92 for sorting coefficient.

    Lithofacies 5 was sampled from the alluvial Elephant Trees Formation at Location C and consists of debris flow conglomeratic sandstones (Fig. 2c). Samples of this lithofacies are reddish-brown, fine to very coarse-grained sandstones with pebbles. The sand grains are triangular, lath-shaped, or irregularly polygonal with predominantly sharp edges. The grains are poorly sorted (Fig. 3e) with an average value of 1.10 for sorting coefficient.

    Lithofacies 6 is the basal section underlying the alluvial Elephant Trees Formation at Location C (Fig. 2c) and consists of medium to coarse-grained planar to trough cross-bedded channel-fill sandstone. Samples of this lithofacies are reddish-brown, non-calcareous, and moderately sorted (average of 0.83 for sorting coefficient).

  • Lithofacies 1 is arkosic (Fig. 3d) with 28.6%–37.3% of quartz (average of 32.9%), 29.3%–31.1% of feldspar (average of 30.2%) and 2.8%–6.1% of lithic fragments (average of 4.5%). The quartz grains are mainly monocrystalline. K-feldspar (84% of the total feldspar content) is by far more abundant than plagioclase feldspar (16%, Fig. 4a) while rock fragments are mainly sedimentary with traces of igneous clasts. The grains are loosely packed with an average packing proximity index, PPI of 40% (Table 1) and grain boundaries dominated by point-contact type (Appendix 1a). Detrital matrix content is low (average of 1.0%). Microscopic observations indicate that this lithofacies is largely cement-supported (Appendixes 1a, 1b) with a total average cement of 29.3%. Calcite cement is the most common authigenic mineral (Fig. 4a, an average of 25.9%) and occurs as coarse mosaic pore-filling cement engulfing detrital grains, kaolinite clay cement and occluding intergranular pores (Appendixes 1b, 1c). Calcite cement here occurs as an early phase based on the loose grain packing or abundance of floating grains and absence of concave-convex grain contacts. Authigenic kaolinite (average of 1.0%) is the main clay cement observed in this lithofacies (Fig. 4a) and occurs as booklets of vermicularly stacked pseudo-hexagonal crystals (˃2 µm) filling intergranular pores (Appendix 1d) and replacing K-feldspars (Appendix 1b). Quartz cement occurs only as traces. Few of the detrital grains and calcite cement show evidence of microfracturing in the form of straight to curvo-linear traces (Appendix 1b) with poor dissolution. Both intergranular and secondary porosities are low (average of 3.4% and 0.3% respectively, Table 2).

    Figure 4.  Bulk X-ray diffractograms of representative powdered samples showing compositional variation among the identified lithofacies, (a)–(f). lithofacies 1–6 respectively. Kao. Kaolinite; Ano. anorthoclase (K-feldspar); Mcr. microcline (K-feldspar); Qtz. quartz; Calc. calcite; Mont. montmorillonite (smectite); Alb. albite (plagioclase feldspar); Oli. oligoclase (plagioclase feldspar).

    Locations Lithofacies Sandstone type PPI (%) Grain boundary types (%) Grain/non-grain
    Point Long CC Suture
    A (San Joaquin) 1 Arkosic 40 34.9 14.3 1.6 0 49.2
    2 Arkosic 46 19.3 38.7 11.2 0 30.8
    B (Cajon Valley) 3 Arkosic 81 7.6 30.3 40.4 12.6 9.1
    C (Salton Trough) 4 Lithic-arkosic 53 20.4 33.7 14.6 0 31.3
    5 Lithic-arkosic 57 21.4 34.9 18.4 0 25.3
    6 Lithic-arkosic 58 21.7 34.8 21.1 0 22.4

    Table 1.  The average packing proximity index (PPI) and grain boundary types for the identified lithofacies

    Figure Appendix 1.  (a) XPL photomicrograph showing early calcite cement and grain contact type; (b) BSE image showing early calcite cement, alteration of KF to kaolinite and weak compaction with point to long grain boundaries; (c) SEM image showing textural relationship between early calcite cement and authigenic kaolinite; (d) SEM image showing authigenic kaolinite with typical booklet habit; (e) PPL photomicrograph showing over view of the rock; (f) XPL photomicrograph showing textural relationship between early calcite and quartz cement; Quartz cement here encrusts the calcite cement; (g) SEM image showing weak compaction, albitization of feldspar and microfractures; (h) PPL photomicrograph showing secondary pore from feldspar dissolution. Calc1. Early calcite cement; Kao. authigenic kaolinite; P-contact. point contact type; L-contact. long contact type; Qo. quartz overgrowth; KF. K-feldspar grain; Qtz. quartz grain; PF. plagioclase feldspar grain.

    Location Lithofacies Sandstone type Texture Composition(%) Cement(%) Thin-section porosity(%) IGV(%) IGP(%)
    MGS(φ) Sorting Qtz Fpar RF Matr Qtz Fpar Sm Ill-sm Kao Tot calc Pry por Sec por
    A(San Joaquin) 1 Arkosic 2.10 0.63 32.9 30.2 4.5 1.0 0.1 - - - 1.0 25.9 2.4 0.3 30.4 3.4
    2 Arkosic 1.57 0.49 31.6 24.5 3.9 1.6 0.6 - - - 1.9 19.6 9.4 5.9 33.2 11.0
    B(Cajon Valley) 3 Arkosic 0.98 1.01 22.1 44.3 4.2 5.9 5.6 1.4 0.4 2.9 - - 9.6 0.3 25.7 15.6
    C(Salton Trough) 4 Lithic-arkosic 1.89 0.92 25.4 32.7 10.6 5.4 2.4 0.6 2.1 1.2 - 11.3 7.4 0.1 30.3 12.7
    5 Lithic-arkosic 0.86 1.10 17.5 38.2 12.5 6.8 3.7 1.3 2.3 0.9 - 4.2 8.3 0.7 28.3 15.0
    6 Lithic-arkosic 1.20 0.83 41.6 18.0 6.4 5.2 4.3 1.0 2.7 1.1 - - 12.3 0.8 27.1 17.6
    Depo. Depositional, MGS. mean grain size; Qtz. detrital quartz; Fpar. detrital feldspar; RF. rock fragment; Matr. detrital matrix; Sm. Smectite; Sm-Ill. smectite-illite; Tot calc. total calcite; Pry por. primary porosity; Sec por. secondary porosity; IGV. intergranular volume; IGP. intergranular porosity.

    Table 2.  The average content of textural, compositional and thin section porosity characteristics of identified lithofacies from the study

    Lithofacies 2 is arkosic (Fig. 3d) with 29.7%–37.6% of quartz (average of 31.6%), 23.9%–30.5% of feldspar (average of 24.5%), and 2.6%–6.7% of lithic fragments (average of 3.9%). The quartz grains are mainly monocrystalline. K-feldspar (64% of the total feldspar content) is more abundant than plagioclase feldspar (36%, Fig. 4b). Some of the feldspar grains show evidence of albitization with distinct irregular or zone-like texture in the feldspar grain (Appendix 1g). Lithic fragments consist mainly of igneous and metamorphic fragments. The grains are loose to moderately packed with an average PPI of 46% and grain boundaries dominated by point to long contact types (Appendix 1e). Detrital matrix content is low (average of 1.6%). Microscopic observations show that this lithofacies is largely cement-supported with a total average cement of 21.9%. Calcite cement is the most common (average of 19.6%) and occurs as a coarse mosaic pore filling phase engulfing detrital grains and kaolinite clay as in lithofacies 1 (Appendixes 1b, 1c). Kaolinite (average of 1.9%) occurring as pore-filling clay cement with booklets of vermicularly stacked pseudo-hexagonal crystals (˃2 µm) is the main clay cement observed in this lithofacies (Figs. 4b, 5a). At the same time, quartz cement occurs as traces (< 1.0%) as syntaxial overgrowth rimming round quartz grain and encrusting early calcite (Appendix 1f). Microfractured and dissolution pores are most pronounced in this lithofacies (Appendixes 1g, 1h). Average intergranular and secondary porosities are 11.0% and 5.9% respectively.

    Figure 5.  Clay fraction XRD patterns of representative powdered samples for (a) lithofacie B; (b) lithofacie C and (c) lithofacie F. Mont. montmorillonite (smectite); ill-Mont. illite-montmorillonite (smectite); Kao. kaolinite; Ano. anorthoclase (K-feldspar); Alb. albite (plagioclase feldspar).

    Lithofacies 3 is arkosic (Fig. 3d) with 18.4%–27.6% of quartz (average of 22.1%), 39.5%–45.8% of feldspar (average of 44.3%), and 2.0%–6.3% of lithic fragments (average of 4.2%). The quartz grains largely consist of monocrystalline quartz. Plagioclase feldspar (58% of the total feldspar content) is more abundant than K-feldspar (42%, Fig. 4c). Some of the feldspar grains have albitized texture resembling lithofacies 2 (Appendix 1g). Lithic fragments are mainly sedimentary and metamorphic. The grains are tightly packed with an average PPI of 81% and grain boundaries dominated by long to concave-convex contact types with a minor proportion of point and sutured types (Appendix 2a, Table 1). The lithofacies has a high detrital matrix content (average of 5.9%). Microfractured grain with pseudo-matrix and highly deformed mica flakes also characterise this lithofacies (Appendix 2b). Microscopic observation indicates that this lithofacies is mostly grain-supported with a low total average cement of 9.8%. Quartz cement is the most common (average of 5.6%) and occurs as well developed euhedral syntaxial overgrowths partially rimming round quartz grain and lining intergranular pores (Appendix 2b). Authigenic smectite (average of 0.4%) characterises this sandstone unit and occurs as crenulated, box-like or webby pattern coating grains and lining pores. The pattern exhibited by this clay cement is like the texture recorded in Appendixes 2g, 3g–3h. Authigenic mixed-layer illite-smectite (montmorillonite) averages 2.9% in this lithofacies (Table 2). This clay cement occurs as web-like to fibrous texture with fine-hairy margin (Appendix 2c) with the web-like texture (smectite) being more pronounced than the fibrous-hairy habit (illite). Further examination of EDX spectrum and glycolated X-ray diffractogram (Appendixes 2d, 5b) confirm this clay as mixed-layer illite-smectite with the proportion of smectite (montmorillonite) to illite being about 60 : 40.

    Figure Appendix 2.  (a) XPL photomicrograph showing grain contact types; (b) XPL showing high compaction, grain contact types, quartz cement and deformed ductile grain; (c) SEM image showing illite clay cement with fibrous to lathlike texture; (d) EDX analysis showing illite clay cement; (e) BSE image showing late calcite cement in tight pore throat; (f) EDX analysis showing calcite cement; (g) SEM image showing textural relationship between late calcite, quartz and smectite cements. Here, Quartz overgrowth enveloped smectite and in turn, is engulfed by late calcite; (h) BSE image showing textural relationship between late calcite and feldspar cement. Here, late calcite engulfed feldspar cement. P-contact. Point contact type; L-contact. Long contact type; S-contact. Sutured contact type; Calc2. Late calcite cement; Sm. Smectite cement; Qo. Quartz overgrowth; Fo. feldspar overgrowth; KF. K-feldspar grain; Qtz.Quartz grain; PF. Plagioclase feldspar grain; Bio. Biotite grain.

    Lithofacies 4 is lithic arkosic (Fig. 3d) with 23.7%–29.6% of quartz (average of 25.4%), 27.7%–40.1% of feldspar (average of 32.7%), and 5.9%–14.8% of lithic fragments (average of 10.6%). The quartz grains largely consist of monocrystalline quartz. Plagioclase feldspar (60% of the total feldspar content) is more abundant than K-feldspar (40%, Fig. 4d). Some of the feldspar grains have albitized texture resembling that of lithofacies 2 and 3 (Appendix 1g). Lithic fragments are mainly granitic and metamorphic. Samples of this lithofacies show variation in grain packing from moderate to tight with an average PPI of 53% and grain boundaries ranging from point to concave-convex contact types. Grain sutured contact is absent. Detrital matrix ranges from 2.3% to 7.5% (average of 5.4%). Mica flakes are mostly biotite and muscovite grains and show moderate to high plastic deformation. This lithofacies is grain to cement-supported with a total average cement of 15.8%. Calcite cement is the most common (average of 11.3%) and occurs as two generations (early and late) based on textural relationship (Appendix 4). The early calcite phase occurs as coarse mosaic cement filling loosely packed sandstone with free pore throat and engulfed detrital grain and authigenic smectite as in lithofacies 1 and 2 (Appendixes 1c, 1d, 4). The late calcite phase occurs as fine mosaic pore-filling cement that is precipitated into relatively denser packed sandstone with tight pore throat and engulfed authigenic quartz and feldspar (Appendixes 2e–2h). Statistical analysis from mapping these two calcite forms from SEM images shows that the late calcite cement is by far more pronounced (average of 71% of the total calcite) in this rock unit than the early calcite cement (average of 29%). Quartz cement (average of 2.4%) also developed in two forms (macro quartz and micro quartz). The macro quartz (average thickness exceeding 10 µm) is the dominant type and occurs as partial to well developed, euhedral syntaxial overgrowths rimming around detrital quartz grain and lining intergranular pores (Appendixes 2e, 2g). The micro quartz cement (average thickness of less than 10 µm) occurs as small euhedral to anhedral isolated to clustered quartz crystals in primary pores (Appendix 4a). Authigenic feldspar, smectite and illite-smectite are present in varied proportion (Table 2). Average intergranular porosity is 12.7% while secondary porosity occurs as traces.

    Figure Appendix 3.  (a) XPL photomicrograph showing late calcite cement in pore; (b) SEM showing late calcite cement in tight pore throat; (c) XPL photomicrograph showing late calcite cement filling microfractured and dissolution pore; (d) XPL showing textural relationship between late calcite, quartz overgrowth and microfracture; (e) XPL photomicrograph showing feldspar overgrowth; (f) XPL photomicrograph showing feldspar overgrowth flowing into pore and encrusting smectite; (g) SEM image showing authigenic smectite with web-like or crenulated texture; (h) EDX showing authigenic smectite. Calc2. Late calcite cement; Sm. smectite cement; Qo. quartz overgrowth; Fo. feldspar overgrowth; Fog. feldspar outgrowth; KF. K-feldspar grain; Qtz. quartz grain; PF. plagioclase feldspar grain; Ep. epidote grain; M. muscovite grain.

    Figure Appendix 4.  (a) EDX-assisted interpreted SEM image showing textural relationship between smectite, microcrystalline quartz, early calcite and late calcite cements. Here, early calcite envelops smectite, microcrystalline quartz encrusts smectite, while late calcite engulfs all three cements; (b) Uninterpreted SEM image. Calc1. Early calcite cement, Calc2. late calcite cement, McQ. microcrystalline quartz cement.

    Lithofacies 5 is lithic arkosic (Fig. 3d) with 14.2%–23.9% of quartz (average of 17.5%), 31.9%–42.5% of feldspar (average of 38.2%), and 11.6%–13.3% of lithic fragments (average of 12.5%). The quartz grains are dominantly monocrystalline quartz. Plagioclase feldspar (68% of the total feldspar content) is more abundant than K-feldspar (32%, Fig. 4e). Some of the feldspar grains show albitized texture. Lithic fragments are mainly granitic and metamorphic. The grains are moderate to tightly packed with an average PPI of 57% and grain boundaries dominated by point to concave-convex type. Detrital matrix ranges from 5.3% to 8.1% (average of 6.8%). Mica flakes are mostly biotite and muscovite grains and show moderate to high plastic deformation. This lithofacies is grain to cement-supported with a total average cement of 13.3%. Calcite cement (average value of 4.2%) is slightly more abundant than authigenic smectite (average of 2.9%), illite-smectite (average of 2.3%), quartz (average of 3.7%), and feldspar (average of 1.3%). Textural relationship reveals that the calcite cement occurs as a late phase filling tight pore throat, engulfed authigenic quartz and feldspar, and healed up microfractured and dissolution pores (Appendixes 3a–3d). Average intergranular porosity is 15.0% while secondary porosity occurs as traces due to the infilling of late calcite cement.

    Lithofacies 6 is lithic arkosic (Fig. 3d) with 35.1%–47.4% of quartz (average of 41.6%), 16.1%–20.9% of feldspar (average of 18.0%), and 4.7%–8.0% of lithic fragments (average of 6.4%). The quartz grains are dominantly monocrystalline quartz. Plagioclase feldspar (59% of the total feldspar content) is more abundant than K-feldspar (41%). Some of the feldspar grains show traces of albitized texture resembling that of lithofacies 2 (Appendix 1g). Lithic fragments are mainly granitic and metamorphic. The grains are moderate to tightly packed with an average PPI of 58% with grain boundaries dominated by point to concave-convex type. Detrital matrix averages 5.2%. Mica flakes show slight to high deformation. This lithofacies is grain to cement-supported with a total average cement of 9.5%. Quartz cement is the most common (average of 4.3%) and occurs as syntaxial overgrowths rimming around detrital quartz grain and lining intergranular pores. Feldspar cement is in varied amount (average of 1.3%) and occurs as both overgrowth lining pores and outgrowth filling intergranular pores (Appendixes 3e, 3f). Authigenic smectite (Appendixes 3g, 3h) and illite-smectite (Fig. 5c) also occurs in different amount. Microfractured and partially dissolved detrital grains also characterise this lithofacies. The average values for intergranular and secondary porosities are 17.6% and 0.8% respectively.

  • Reservoir petrofacies is the classification of rocks based on depositional parameters (e.g., structures, textures, and primary composition) and diagenetic fabrics which control the porosity and permeability of the rock (Jardim et al., 2011; De Ros and Goldberg, 2007). This study has identified four possible types of petrofacies (Fig. 6b) based on the rock depositional parameter, diagenetic signatures and their visual porosity estimated values.

    Figure 6.  Plot of (a) intergranular volume (IGV) vs. cement volume after Houseknecht (1987); (b) compaction porosity loss (COPL) vs. cementation porosity loss (CEPL) after Lundegard (1992) showing four distinct clusters (P1–P4) indicating four preferential mechanisms of porosity alterations in the reservoir petrofacies. P1. petrofacies 1; P2. petrofacies 2; P3. petrofacies 3; P4. petrofacies 4.

    Petrofacies P1 is present mainly in the sand injectite or sand dyke within the Monterey Formation in the San Joaquin forearc basin (Fig. 2a). These sandstones are predominantly fine-grained, moderately well sorted, arkosic, weakly compacted but highly cemented with sparse dissolution pores (Tables 3, 4; Figs. 7b–7f, 9). The high textural properties of these sandstones could have translated into a high reservoir quality due to the relatively low amount of detrital and labile components that usually clog pores and promote rapid compaction (Ketzer and Morad, 2006; Morad et al., 2000).

    Intensity COPL (%) CEPL(%) Pdissolution (%)
    Strong > 20 > 20 > 70
    Medium 20–10 20–10 70–30
    Weak 10–0 10–0 30–0

    Table 3.  The classification standard of influence extent on reservoir quality

    Petrofacies Lithofacies Sorting Total ductile
    component(ave., %)
    Mineral composition COPL(ave., %) CEPL(ave., %) Pdissolution(ave., %) Intergranular porosity Pore filling cement
    P1 1 Moderate well
    to moderate
    1.8–2.1(1.9) Arkosic 8.0–10.7(9.4) 25.9–27.3(26.6) 8.5–11.3(9.9) 2.8–4.1(3.4) Calcite(ave.25.9%); Quartz(ave.0.2%);
    kaolinite(ave.1.0%); Smectite(?); Illite(?)
    P2 2 Well sorted 2.2–2.4(2.3) Arkosic 6.3–10.9(8.8) 18.7–22.3(20.0) 35.3–41.8(38.4) 10.1–12.0(11.0) Calc(ave.19.6%); Qtz(ave.0.6%);
    Kaolinite(ave.1.9%); Smectite(?); Illite(?)
    P3 4, 5 Moderate to poor 3.2–9.4(7.5) Lithic arkosic 1.3–12.0(9.3) 9.9–25.5(15.5) 0.0–7.7(1.6) 9.2–15.6(12.5) Calcite(ave.10.3%); Qtz(ave.3.1%); Kaolinite(?);
    Smectite(ave.2.2%); Illite-smectite(ave.1.1%)
    P4 3, 5, 6 Moderate to poor 5.5–12.6(8.7) Lithic arkosic 7.8–18.5(14.4) 4.5–9.3(8.1) 0.0–9.8(5.6) 12.6–18.9(16.7) Calcite(ave.0.1%); Qtz(ave.4.6%);
    Kaolinite(?); Smectite(ave.1.8%); Illite-smectite(ave.1.6%)
    COPL. Compaction porosity loss; CEPL. cementation porosity loss; Pdissolution. dissolution porosity

    Table 4.  The textural, compositional, diagenetic and porosity characteristics of the petrofacies types in the study

    Figure 7.  Plots of Intergranular porosity vs. (a) mean grain size; (b) intragranular porosity; (c) calcite cement; (d) quartz cement; (e) total clay cement; (f) total cement content.

    Figure 9.  Paragenetic sequence of the main diagenetic features in the Miocene sandstones from the study area.

    However, the pervasive pore-filling early calcite cement significantly obliterated intergranular pores of these sandstones and developed extremely isolated pores with values ranging between 2.8% to 4.1% (average of 3.4%, Table 4). Because isolated pores have poor interconnectivity resulting in low permeability values (Worden and Matray, 1998) as seen in this rock unit, P1 is therefore considered to have poor reservoir quality.

    Petrofacies P2 occurs mainly in the submarine fan sandstones underlying the Monterey Formation in the San Joaquin forearc basin (Fig. 2a). The sandstones are medium-grained, well sorted, arkosic, weakly compacted, moderately cemented with medium dissolution pores (Tables 3, 4, Figs. 7b–7f, 9). Like P1, the high textural properties of these sandstones should have also translated into high reservoir quality but for the pervasive pore-filling early calcite cement, although lower in volume than in P1. Intergranular porosity of these sandstone lies between 10.1% and 12.0% with an average value of 11.0%. However, unlike P1, these sandstones show evidence of medium dissolution of feldspar grains with a resultant effect of large moldic pores which are likely to promote pore connectivity (Jiang et al., 2010; Schmidt and Mcdonald, 1984). Hence, permeability values in these sandstones are expected to be higher than in P1.

    Petrofacies P3 is present mainly in the marine turbidite and marine-influenced distal alluvial fan sandstones in the Salton Trough strike-slip basin. These sandstones are medium to coarse grained, moderately sorted, arkosic to lithic arkosic, weakly compacted, moderately cemented with weak feldspar dissolution. In comparison to P1 and P2, these sandstones have slightly higher intergranular porosity values in the range of 9.2%–15.6% (average 12.5%). The relatively higher intergranular porosity of these sandstones despite having relatively lower textural properties is related to the lower volume of both early and late calcite cement filling pores. Secondary porosity in these sandstones is mainly in the form of microfractured pores formed due to mechanical compaction (Zeng, 2010). The infilling of both the microfractured and intergranular pores by late calcite cement would significantly affect their interconnectivity, hence have a great impact on their permeability. Permeability values are therefore expected to be lower than those of P2. Furthermore, subsequent diagenesis of illite-smectite clay will lead to the authigenesis of illite in this sandstone (Worden and Morad, 2003). Because illite tends to form a pore-bridging textural pattern, their presence in these rocks is likely to further affect their permeability values (Morad et al., 2012).

    Petrofacies P4 is present mainly in the continental sandstones in both Cajon Valley and Salton Trough strike-slip basins. These sandstones have the least influence of marine incursion in the study as evidenced by the near absence of early calcite cement (Table 4). The sandstones are medium to very coarse-grained, pebbly, moderately to poorly sorted, arkosic to lithic-arkosic, moderately compacted, weakly cemented with infrequent dissolution pores. Although these sandstones have the worst textural properties, their intergranular porosity values (12.6%–18.9%, average 16.7%, Table 4) are the highest in the study and is interpreted to result from the near absence of early calcite cement. However, unlike the three previous petrofacies, these sandstones are the most affected by mechanical compaction (Fig. 6) as evidenced by the presence of sutured grain contacts and pseudomatrix (Appendix 2b), and this is attributed to the presence of large amount of labile components which promoted rapid mechanical compaction (Ketzer and Morad, 2006; Morad et al., 2000). The presence of pseudomatrix clogging pores, together with the relatively high amount of authigenic illite-smectite is likely to affect their flow properties.

  • Depositional environments control the character of their sandstone deposits such as sand body architecture, sand-to-mud ratio, textural properties (e.g., grain size, sorting), primary porosity and permeability, pore water chemistry and early diagenetic alterations (Lan et al., 2016; Morad et al., 2012). In this study, P1, P2 and P3 are marine occurring as submarine fans to turbidite sandstones whereas P4 occurs as continental alluvial fans to braided sandstones (Figs. 2, 8). The marine sandstones (P1–P3) have higher textural properties with moderate to well sorting, whereas the continental sandstones (P4) have lower textural properties with poor sorting. The high textural properties among P1–P3 in comparison to P4 can be attributed to the transport distance from the source area and the paleo-flow energy characterizing their deposition. Because the transport distance between the source area and these depositional settings is quite long, hydraulic sorting, abrasion, marine wave and storm processes combine to rework these sediments more efficiently to yield the observed textural characteristics.

    Figure 8.  Paleogeography diagram of southern California area during deposition of Miocene sand deposits (modified from Parrish, 2006). (a) Submarine fan sand deposits overlain by deep marine fines during progressive transgression in the fore-arc San Joaquin Basin; (b) braided channel sand deposits formed by regression in the Cajon Valley strike-slip basin; (c) continental sand deposits punctuated by relatively short marine transgression followed by a regressive phase in the Salton Trough strike-slip basin.

    On the other hand, the low textural attributes of P4 is attributed to the relatively short transport distance between the source and the depositional setting. Hence, the effect of hydraulic sorting and abrasion action on these sediments is relatively lower. Besides, the absence of waves and storms which are considered as effective reworking processes (Boggs, 2006) are also absent in these continental environments, thus causing these sediments to retail high matrix content. The depositional environment also controls the early diagenesis of these sandstones by dictating the chemistry of pore water as further explained in Section 4.3.

  • The major diagenetic processes controlling the petrophysical properties of the Miocene sandstones in the study include mechanical compaction, cementation, dissolution, microfracturing, and mineral replacement. The paragenetic sequence, which is based primarily on the distribution pattern of the diagenetic minerals and their textural relationships as determined from thin sections and SEM-BSE images, are shown in Fig. 9. It generally includes two stages of evolution based on the definition of Oluwadebi et al. (2018).

  • Early diagenesis refers to processes that affect sediments after deposition due to their proximity to the surface (Oluwadebi et al., 2018 and reference therein). This diagenetic regime occurs at shallow burial depths with a maximum burial depth of 1–2 km and low-temperature range of 30–70 ℃ (Worden and Burley, 2003; Morad et al., 2000). During this stage of diagenetic evolution, the chemistry of the interstitial waters is controlled mainly by the depositional environments (Schmid et al., 2004).

    The textural relationship between authigenic clays (kaolinite and smectite) and early calcite (Appendixes 1c, 1d, 4a) indicates that these clay cements were formed at the early stage of diagenesis. Petrographic investigation, however, indicates that while kaolinite cement is present in petrofacies P1 and P2 (Location A-San Joaquin Valley), authigenic smectite is found in petrofacies P3 and P4 (Cajon Valley and Salton Trough). The distribution of these early clays in the study suggests the influence of paleoclimatic conditions on the position and chemistry of the interstitial waters which dictated their formation (Lai et al., 2015; Schmid et al., 2004). The presence of kaolinite clays in petrofacies P1, and P2 is suggestive of sediment deposition in a climatic condition with net rain fall. The influx of this water cause pore water to become acidic with relatively high H+/K+. The interaction of this acidified water with rocks lead to the leaching and kaolinization of unstable silicate grains, as observed in Appendix 1b (Lai et al., 2015; Bjørlykke, 2014; Ketzer et al., 2003; Worden and Morad, 2003). The fact that the leaching effect was mainly on the feldspar grain but not on the early calcite cement provides a further attestation that this diagenetic phase preceded early calcite cementation.

    On the other hand, the presence of authigenic smectite in petrofacies P3 and P4 is indicative of deposition under a paleoclimatic condition with net evaporation. Under this condition, meteoric influx resulting in ionic leaching is limited. Hence, pore waters become hypersaline with a high Mg2+/H+, and K+/H+ ratios leading to the precipitation of this cement (Bjørlykke, 2014; Mckinley et al., 2003; Worden and Morad, 2003).

    The most important early diagenetic event is the pervasive precipitation of early calcite cement across the three basins which strongly influence the petrophysical properties of these sandstones (Fig. 7c, Table 4). This calcite cement occurs prior to mechanical compaction as indicated by the loose grain packing, and microfracturing of this cement with detrital grains (Appendixes 1c, 1g). Early formed calcite cement in sandstones is often defined by the presence of loose grain packing (Hakimi et al., 2012). The early calcite cementation prevented further diagenetic modifications by mechanical compaction in these samples except for a later stage of detrital grain dissolution and microfracturing. The high calcite cement in the marine sandstones is likely due to the high concentration of Ca2+-cation that normally characterises marine water (Hakimi et al., 2012; Morad, 1998). Point count data shows that this early calcite cement is by far most pronounced in P1 and P2 from the San Joaquin Basin, it is reduced in P3 in the Salton Trough while it is highly insignificant in the continental P4 sandstones. The high prevalence of early calcite cement in P1 and P2 in the San Joaquin Basin is attributed to the relatively more prolonged exposure of these sandstones to Ca2+-rich marine water during the progressive deepening of the basin as evidenced by the thick marine succession (Figs. 2a, 8a).

    Conversely, the lower amount of early calcite cement in P3 is interpreted to result from the increasing influx of clastic sediments from the Colorado rivers during the Late Miocene base-level fall (Dorsey et al., 2011) as evidenced by the thickening-upward sequence (Figs. 2c, 8c). The poor early calcite cementation in the continental P4 sediments is interpreted to result from the limited exposure of these sandstones to Ca2+-rich marine water. Textural relationships from petrographic investigation show that this early calcite cement was engulfed by quartz overgrowth (Appendix 1f) and therefore indicate that this cement was precipitated at a temperature lower than the typical temperature (˃70 ℃) required for quartz precipitation (Bjørlykke and Jahren, 2010; Marcussen et al., 2010; Worden and Morad, 2003).

    As effective stress resulting from burial increased with depth, early mechanical compaction squeezed the grains together, reducing the inter-grain pore distance and resulting in the transformation of grain boundaries from the floating type at the onset of burial to predominantly point contact with long type (Appendixes 1a–1c). The evolution of grain boundaries with depth reduces the intergranular porosity of sandstones (Lai et al., 2016; Hakimi et al., 2012).

  • Late diagenesis refers to processes affecting rocks that are isolated from surface-related processes (Schmid et al., 2004) with burial depths exceeding 2 km and temperatures above 70 ℃ (Morad et al., 2000). This diagenetic phase is controlled by the rock-water interactions, composition and distribution of earlier-formed authigenic minerals (Mansurbeg et al., 2008; Morad et al., 2000).

    Under this diagenetic regime, progressive burial and mechanical compaction of the Miocene sandstones continued to reduce the primary intergranular porosity as detrital grains were further squeezed together. Mechanical compaction at this stage produced more compacted grain boundaries characterised dominantly by long, concavo-convex and stylolitic grain contacts (Appendix 2a). Other evidence of this compaction includes plastic deformation of ductile grains, the formation of pseudo-matrix, and microfracturing of both detrital grains and early calcite cement (Appendixes 1g, 2b). The development of microfracturing during diagenesis has previously been related to stresses resulting from the shrinkage of rock constituents or whole rocks by mechanical compaction (e.g., Zeng, 2010; Schmidt and McDonald, 1984). Across the study area, mechanical compaction had the most significant impact on petrofacies P4 as revealed by its average highest COPL value (Table 4). The high mechanical compaction recorded by this rock unit is attributed to a variety of factors which include the near absence of early calcite cement and the presence of high ductile components. Early calcite cement in sandstones stabilises the rock framework and prevent mechanical compaction (Morad et al., 2019; Molenaar, 1990). Sandstones enriched in ductile grains have been reported to experience high rate of mechanical compaction with a progressive depth of burial leading to rapid loss of porosity and permeability in contrast to sandstones enriched in rigid grains (Ketzer and Morad, 2006; Smosna and Bruner, 1997).

    At progressive burial temperature, authigenic smectite transformed to mixed smectite-illite clay with increasing illite component as burial depth and temperatures increase (Wilkinson et al., 2006; Środoń, 1999; Pusch and Kanland, 1996; Velde, 1986). The transformation of smectite to illite through mixed smectite-illite commonly occurs at depths usually exceeding 2 km or at a temperature above 70 ℃ (Bjørlykke, 2014; Worden and Morad, 2003). The presence of mixed smectite-illite in petrofacies P3 and P4 with higher smectite component, therefore, marks a transition from an early diagenetic phase to a late diagenetic realm with much of these sandstones buried at the onset of the late diagenetic phase. There was no illite in P1 and P2 and therefore suggest that the temperature regime (˃70 ℃) required for the transformation of kaolinite to illite has not been attained in the basin despite the significant presence of K-feldspar in these rocks (Bjørlykke, 2014; Worden and Morad, 2003).

    Quartz and feldspar authigenesis in the study is attributed to chemical compaction influenced by increased burial stress and temperature. Evidence of chemical compaction in the study comes from the presence of microstylolites or grain sutured boundary (Sheldon et al., 2003; Worden and Morad, 2000) as observed in Appendixes 2a, 2b, 3e, 3f. Although it was difficult to determine the relative timing between these two authigenic minerals, the textural relationship however shows that these authigenic minerals engulfed early formed clay cement but are enveloped by late calcite cement (Appendixes 2e, 2g–2h, 3d, 4a). Previous studies (e.g., Bjørlykke and Jahren, 2010; Marcussen et al., 2010; Schmid et al., 2004; Worden and Morad, 2003; Harper et al., 1995) have considered authigenic feldspar and quartz as late diagenetic cements commonly developed above 70 ℃. Quantitative analysis of point count data shows that the volume of authigenic quartz cement is directly related to the COPL values (Table 4) thus further confirming that most of the silica cement in the rocks were derived from chemical compaction. Although the transformation of smectite to illite has been reported to also contribute to silica authigenesis (Worden and Morad, 2003), the contribution of this to the overall silica cement in the study is likely to be low considering the relative minute volume of authigenic smectite and illite-smectite clays recorded by the rock.

    Another late diagenetic phase recorded in the study is the albitization of feldspar based on the textural relationship observed in Appendix 1g. Albitized texture is formed by the combination of stress resulting from compaction and burial temperature (Ramseyer et al., 1992).

    Late dissolution of both early calcite cement and detrital feldspar grains is most pronounced in petrofacies P2 (Appendix 1h) and is interpreted here to result from the interaction of acidic fluids with the rock. Two main sources of acidic fluids are responsible for the dissolution of rocks in the literature. The first source is related to the influx of meteoric waters driven by fault-related topography (Wilkinson et al., 2006) while the second source result from the migration of organic acids and CO2 generated by the thermal maturation of organic matter in source-rocks (Mansurbeg et al., 2008). Considering that this dissolution occurs as a late diagenetic event (Fig. 9) combined with the apparent disparity of the effect of this dissolution on P2 in comparison with the other Petrofacies, it is unlikely that this dissolution may have been caused by meteoric influx which is often considered as an early diagenetic process (Mansurbeg et al., 2008). This late dissolution which have resulted in large secondary-moldic pores in P2 is believed to have been caused by organic acids and CO2 generated by the thermal maturation of organic matter in the source-rock marine shales of the underlying Kreyanhagen Formation. It could also have been formed from the adjacent Monterey shale separated by a fault which perhaps acted as a conduit for the migration of the fluids (Figs. 2a, 8a). The poor dissolution of P1 despite being present in the same basin as P2 may be due to its limited exposure to these acidified fluids. Evidence of organic acid-and CO2 generated source rocks are lacking in the other two basins, hence do not affect the sandstone deposits.

    Post-compaction calcite cementation (Calc 2) marks the last phase of this late diagenetic event in the study (Fig. 9). Petrographic observation, together with point count data shows that this calcite cement is most significant in petrofacies P3 sandstone filling intragranular and moldic pores (Appendixes 3c, 4). Petrofacies P1 and P2 show no evidence of this cement while P4 only recorded traces. Late diagenetic calcite has been observed to fill small pores between tightly packed framework grains, indicating precipitation after considerable compaction (Lai et al., 2016). The formation of late calcite cement in this study may have been associated with the albitization of Ca-plagioclase (Schulz et al., 1989).

  • The reservoir quality variation in the region was controlled to some extent by depositional processes which dictated the grain size, depositional matrix and sorting characteristic of the rocks (Fig. 7a). However, the most significant controls are by diagenetic alterations which largely dictated the distribution of the petrofacies types and therefore have an enormous implication on the reservoir quality variation in the region (Figs. 7, 9). The most considerable diagenetic alteration affecting the reservoir quality of these sandstones is calcite cementation. This cement, together with the dissolution of unstable grains and compaction are the dominant factors which have dictated the classification of the identified lithofacies into their petrofacies types (Figs. 6b).

    Evidence from this study shows that early calcite cementation is most extensive in the San Joaquin forearc basin and had the most significant control on the reservoir quality of petrofacies 1 and 2 (Fig. 7c). However, late dissolution by acidic pore fluids had the most significant effect on petrofacies 2 (submarine fan sandstones) perhaps, because of its lateral exposure than petrofacies 1 (sand injectite or dyke). The developed large moldic pores in petrofacies 2 (Appendix 1h) are likely to increase total porosity and permeability values of these rocks (Fig. 7b). Additionally, the absence of illite clay cement and a relatively low concentration of authigenic quartz (Table 4) combine to make these sandstones the best reservoir target in this basin. However, the pervasive calcite cementation of petrofacies 1 (sand injectite or dyke), insufficient dissolution by acidic pore fluids, coupled with their limited area would combine to make this petrofacies a less reservoir target relative to petrofacies 2 in the basin.

    In the strike-slip basins (Cajon Valley and Salton Trough), the high intergranular porosity combines with the near absence of early calcite cement in petrofacies P4 (continental sandstones) makes these rocks the best reservoir target in this basin. However, because these sandstones are also characterised by a relatively large quantity of labile components with illite-smectite cement, their permeability values are expected to be relatively lower.

    Comparing the possible rate of diagenesis between the two basins, the strike-slip basins (Cajon Valley and Salton Trough) have higher thermal characteristics ranging from about 60 mWm-2 to over 150 mWm-2 (Ben-Avraham et al., 2010; Sass et al., 1994). On the other hand, the San Joaquin forearc basin has lower thermal characteristics (> ~20–40 mWm-2, Tian and Liu, 2013; Lutz et al., 2011). Because of this variation in thermal characteristics between the two basins, the diagenesis of petrofacies P4 (continental sandstones) in the strike-slip basins is expected to proceed much rapidly over time leading to abrupt deterioration of reservoir quality in comparison to that of petrofacies 1 (sand injectite or dyke) and petrofacies 2 (submarine fan sandstones) in the San Joaquin forearc basin. Hence, the best bet for exploration and reservoir targets in the southern California region are the sandstones (petrofacies 1 and 2) in the San Joaquin Basin.

    The studied petrofacies 1, and 2 in the San Joaquin forearc basin are respectively analogous to the petroliferous Miocene injectite complex (Yellow Bank Creek Complex, Santa Margarita sandstone, Thompson et al., 2007) and Stevens sandstone reservoirs (Mahon et al., 1998; Boles and Ramseyer, 1987). Emplacement of hydrocarbon in these sandstone reservoirs post-dated early calcite cementation and filled late dissolution pores. Although these secondary pores increase the pore network connectivity to some extent, most of these liquid hydrocarbon accumulations, particularly in the Steven sandstones reservoirs, are still largely compartmentalised by early calcite cement (Mahon et al., 1998). Hence, for maximum recovery of the accumulated liquid hydrocarbon in these sandstone reservoirs, the use of acidified fluids would help to dissolve the calcite-filled pores, increase their pore network connectivity and enhance flow potential of these reservoirs.

  • The Miocene sandstones from the study consists of four petrofacies of which two petrofacies (P1, submarine sandstones and P2, sand injectite or dyke) are found in the San Joaquin forearc basin. The other two petrofacies, P3 (marine turbidite sandstones and marine-influenced alluvial sandstones) and P4 (continental sandstones) are present in the Cajon Valley and Salton strike-slip basins. Early authigenic kaolinite characterises P1 and P2, whereas authigenic smectite delineates P3 and P4. The most adverse early diagenetic signature in the two basins studied was early calcite cementation. While it has the most significant effect on P1 and P2, it recorded a lower amount in P3 but near zero in P4. Although the dissolution of these rocks did not have a pattern, it, however, has the most considerable influence on P2 creating moldic pores which are expected to increase pore connectivity. The relatively high dissolution pores together with the absence of late authigenic calcite and illite clay components in comparison to the other petrofacies studied are likely to make this rocks the best reservoir targets in the southern California region. These rocks are analogous to producing reservoirs in the region. However, because, hydrocarbon charges are isolated by early calcite cementation, maximum recovery using acidified fluids is recommended to create flow pathways.

  • The author Sunday E. Okunuwadje wishes to thank the University of Aberdeen for an Elphinstone PhD Scholarship, and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for financial assistance which has enabled him to take up this study as part of his PhD programme. Endeeper provided the Petroledge software used for the petrographic studies. Mr. John Still, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen provided technical support. The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/s12583-020-1289-7.

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