Clay Diagenesis in the Kimmeridge Clay Formation, Onshore UK, and Its Relation to Organic Maturation

Iain C. Scotchman1
Dept. of Geology, Beaumont Building, University of Sheffield, Brookhill, Sheffield
1Present address: Amoco (UK) Exploration Co, Amoco House, 1 Stephen Street, London W1P 2AU

Abstract: Conversion of randomly ordered illite-smectite to ordered illite-smectite in the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay Formation from the North Sea has been recorded in the literature as occurring within the ‘oil window’ and has been suggested as an indicator of oil source rock maturity. Studies of authigenic clay minerals in the fine fraction (>0.5 µm) of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation mudstones from fourteen locations along the UK onshore outcrop between Dorset and North Yorkshire show that they comprise mainly ordered illite-smectites. The onshore Kimmeridge Clay section is organically immature, suggesting that the illite-smectite ordering reaction cannot be extrapolated between basins as an inorganic indicator of ‘oil window’ levels of maturity. These results also have important implications in source rock hydrocarbon expulsion and migration models which involve shale dewatering as a flushing agent. However, dewatering of shales may aid migration as it could cause fracturing of the shale bands separating the organic-rich layers within the source rock, prior to hydrocarbon generation.

Keywords: clay diagenesis • Kimmeridge Clay Formation • illite • smectite • organic maturation

Mineralogical Magazine; October 1987 v. 51; no. 62; p. 535-551; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1987.051.362.08
© 1987, The Mineralogical Society
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