Understanding Long-Term Solute Transport in Sedimentary Basins: Simulating Brine Migration in the Alberta Basin. Final Report
Understanding Long-Term Solute Transport in Sedimentary Basins: Simulating Brine Migration in the Alberta Basin. Final Report Mass transport in deep sedimentary basins places important controls on ore formation, petroleum migration, CO2 sequestration, and geochemical reactions that affect petroleum reservoir quality, but large-scale transport in this type of setting remains poorly understood. This lack of knowledge is highlighted in the resource-rich Alberta Basin, where geochemical and hydrogeologic studies have suggested residence times ranging from hundreds of millions of years to less than 5 My, respectively. Here we developed new hydrogeologic models that were constrained by geochemical observations to reconcile these two very different estimates. The models account for variable-density fluid flow, heat transport, solute transport, sediment deposition and erosion, sediment compressibility, and dissolution of salt deposits, including Cl/Br systematics. Prior interpretations of Cl/Br ratios in the Alberta Basin concluded that the brines were derived from evaporatively-concentrated brines that were subsequently diluted by seawater and freshwater; models presented here show that halite dissolution must have contributed strongly as well, which implies significantly greater rates of mass transport. This result confirms that Cl/Br ratios are subject to significant non-uniqueness and thus do not provide good independent indicators of the origin of brines. Salinity and Cl/Br ratios provided valuable new constraints for basin-scale models, however. Sensitivity studies revealed that permeabilities more »
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