Exhumed bleached palaeoreservoirs provide a means of understanding fluid flow processes in geological media because the former movement of fluids is preserved as visible geochemical changes (grey bleaching of continental red-beds). The bleached palaeoreservoirs of the Jurassic Entrada Sandstone occur in a region (Utah) where there are high fluxes of naturally-occurring CO2 and form outcrop analogues for processes related to geological storage of CO2. In this paper a bleached palaeoreservoir now exposed at outcrop is used to test the importance of geological heterogeneity on fluid flow. The bleached palaeoreservoir is developed in ‘wet aeolian’ lithofacies composed of alternating layers of sandstone and cemented muddy sandstone that range across three or more orders of magnitude in permeability. Despite these permeability contrasts the bleaching shows a remarkably uniform distribution within the palaeoreservoir that crosses lithofacies boundaries. Evidence from bleaching therefore suggests that geological heterogeneity within the range 1–103 millidarcies should not greatly impede the relatively uniform distribution of low-viscosity CO2 charged fluids throughout a reservoir: a conclusion that has been substantiated here by flow modelling. Residence time is an important factor and where flows are transient the distribution of bleaching and modelling shows that flows are confined to high-permeability lithofacies.
- Bleached palaeoreservoir
- CO storage
- Entrada Sandstone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Newell, A., Pourmalek, A., Shariatipour, S. M., & Butcher, A. S. (2019). The importance of lithofacies control on fluid migration in heterogeneous aeolian formations for geological CO2 storage: Lessons from observational evidence and modelling of bleached palaeoreservoirs at Salt Wash Graben, Utah. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 91, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijggc.2019.102841