An integrated study of diagenesis and depositional facies in tidal sandstones: Hawaz formation (Middle Ordovician), Murzuq Basin, Libya

A. Abouessa, S. Morad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Studies of the impact of diagenesis on reservoir quality in tidal sandstones can be of great importance in successful hydrocarbon exploration. The study reported here shows that diagenetic alterations and bioturbation have induced considerable deterioration and heterogeneity in the reservoir quality of the sand-dominated tidal deposits of the Middle Ordovician Hawaz Formation in the Muruq Basin, Libya. Comparison is made between the diagenetic evolution of samples from the subsurface (present-day depth 1500 m) and from surface outcrops in order to study the impact of burial and uplift on the spatial and temporal distribution of reservoir quality in the Hawaz Formation sandstones. Eogenetic alterations, which were mediated by meteoric water circulation, included kaolinitization and dissolution of framework silicates and mechanical compaction. Mesogenetic alterations (T > 70°C; depth > 2 km) included pressure dissolution of quartz grains and concomitant quartz cementation, conversion of kaolinite into dickite, illitization of kaolinite and of grain-coating clays, and the precipitation of Mg-rich siderite cement. Reduction of intergranular porosity was due more to compaction than to cementation, yet quartz overgrowths are up to 16% in some of the sandstones. Bioturbation has resulted in a greater reduction in sandstone permeability in the lower part of the formation than the upper part. A higher ratio of dickite to kaolinite in subsurface samples than in outcrop samples is attributed to the longer residence time of the former sandstones under mesogenetic conditions. Telodiagenesis has not resulted in enhancement of reservoir quality of the Hawaz Formation Sandstones but in pseudomorphic calcitization of siderite and oxidation of pyrite to goethite. This study shows that the reservoir-quality evolution of tidal sandstones can best be elucidated when linked to depositional facies and distribution of diagenetic alterations.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)39-65
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Petroleum Geology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Bioturbation
  • Diagenesis
  • Hawaz Formation
  • Libya
  • Murzuq Basin
  • Ordovician
  • Qarqaf Arch
  • Sandstone reservoir
  • Tidal sandstones


Dive into the research topics of 'An integrated study of diagenesis and depositional facies in tidal sandstones: Hawaz formation (Middle Ordovician), Murzuq Basin, Libya'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this