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Title: Groundwater age, brine migration, and large-scale solute transport in the Alberta Basin, Canada

 [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Department of Geological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia SC Canada
  2. Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB Canada
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Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
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Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 15; Journal Issue: 4; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2017-10-20 17:40:29; Journal ID: ISSN 1468-8115
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Citation Formats

Gupta, I., Wilson, A. M., and Rostron, B. J. Groundwater age, brine migration, and large-scale solute transport in the Alberta Basin, Canada. Canada: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1111/gfl.12131.
Gupta, I., Wilson, A. M., & Rostron, B. J. Groundwater age, brine migration, and large-scale solute transport in the Alberta Basin, Canada. Canada. doi:10.1111/gfl.12131.
Gupta, I., Wilson, A. M., and Rostron, B. J. 2015. "Groundwater age, brine migration, and large-scale solute transport in the Alberta Basin, Canada". Canada. doi:10.1111/gfl.12131.
title = {Groundwater age, brine migration, and large-scale solute transport in the Alberta Basin, Canada},
author = {Gupta, I. and Wilson, A. M. and Rostron, B. J.},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1111/gfl.12131},
journal = {Geofluids},
number = 4,
volume = 15,
place = {Canada},
year = 2015,
month = 3

Journal Article:
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Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1111/gfl.12131

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Cited by: 3works
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  • 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 depositionmore » 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 obtained from core- and field-scale tests were appropriate for basin-scale models, despite the differences in scale between the tests and the models. Simulations of groundwater age show that the residence time of porefluids in much of the basin is less than 100 My. Groundwater age increases with depth and approaches 200 My in the deepest part of the basin, but brines are significantly younger than their host rocks throughout the basin.« less
  • In the Falher Member of the Mannville Group (Aptian-Albian) of western Canada, two shoreline successions contain the reservoir conglomerates for the giant Elmworth gas field. The Falher B succession has basal sheetlike shoreface unit of hummocky cross-stratified sandstone that thins seaward and terminates about 30km north (seaward) of the landward limit of the transgression. Another 25 km farther basinward, the succession shows a 20-30-m-thick sandstone, unattached to the prograding shoreface, and an overlying coarsening-upward shoreface succession with thin muds and coals, interpreted as back-barrier deposits. In the upper (Falher A) succession, immediately landward (south) of the barriers, fluvial valleys weremore » incised into nonmarine mudstones and coals during the base-level fall. As relative sea level subsequently rose, in nonmarine areas the valleys were filled by estuarine and fluvial sands, then a widespread sheet of fine-grained nonmarine sediment was deposited. At the same time, the shoreline migrated back across the shelf. As it reached the original shorezone (structurally controlled), reworking of underlying deposits successively generated three gravelly barrier islands superimposed on the sandy shoreface succession. The conglomeratic reservoirs all rest above the unconformities, in the transgressive depositional system. Westward (alongshore) toward the thrust belt, no falling or lowstand sea level succession developed. Instead, a wide regressive shoreface sandstone with a transgressive cap occurs. Subsidence rates were higher in this area, and relative sea level appears always to have risen, but at varying rates. Any two-dimensional sequence stratigraphic model, therefore, is inadequate to describe the lateral variation of the sequence and distribution of shoreface sandstones, because the subsidence gradient was not parallel to the direction of shoreface progradation.« less
  • The hydrodynamic regime of formation waters in the post-Devonian sedimentary succession was studied for an area of about 120,000 km{sup 2} in southwestern Alberta using approximately 15,000 drill-stem tests and 13,000 formation-water analyses. The salinity of formation waters generally increases both northward and with depth from 5000 mg/L to more than 100,000 mg/L. Based on flow characteristics and driving mechanisms, the sedimentary succession can be divided into two megahydro-stratigraphic groups overlain by an unconfined aquifer at the top. The Mississippian-to-Mannville (Cretaceous) hydrostratigraphic group is basically an open hydrodynamic system dominated by aquifers. The flow of formation waters is driven bymore » basin-scale topography, and part of a basin-scale flow system with recharge at high elevations in the south and southwest and discharge at low elevations in the north-northeast. The Cretaceous Colorado-to-Edmonton hydrostratigraphic group is largely a closed hydrodynamic system dominated by aquitards. The flow in aquifers is driven west-ward downdip, toward the thrust and fold belt, by large-scale underpressuring caused by erosional rebound in thick shales. In places, pressures reach lower values than those corresponding to the lowest basin elevation located far to the north. This flow system is in a transient state of mechanical and hydrodynamic adjustment to the present topography. The different flow pattern in the two megahydrostratigraphic successions has consequences for hydrocarbon exploration in terms of secondary migration paths and possible hydrodynamic entrapment of hydrocarbons.« less
  • Cited by 2
  • The Milk River aquifer in southern Alberta, Canada, consists of sandstone interbedded between thick shale units. The groundwater is confined and discharges by both upward and downward leakage through the shales. The concentration of Cl/sup -/ increases by about 2 orders of magnitude downgradient through the aquifer. This Cl/sup -/ increase complicates /sup 36/Cl dating of the system. Climatic changes, flushing of connate water, introduction of Cl/sup -/ from older water below the aquifer, and ion filtration have been proposed as possible explanations for the increase. The /sup 36/Cl data show a consistent decrease of the /sup 36/Cl/Cl ratio downgradient,more » but an increase in the /sup 36/Cl/Cl concentration downgradient in certain parts of the aquifer. Dates calculated from the /sup 36/Cl/Cl ratio show a reasonable distribution in light of the hydraulic controls on the system, whereas dates calculated from the /sup 36/Cl concentration give negative ages. This suggests that ion filtration is responsible for the Cl/sup -/ increase and that the /sup 36/Cl/Cl dates are to be preferred. The authors estimate water ages to be more than 2 m.y. near the distal end of the aquifer.« less