Swiss Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 105, Issue 2, pp 299-312

Formation of phyllosilicates in a fault zone affecting deeply buried arkosic sandstones: their influence on petrophysic properties (Annot sandstones, French external Alps)

  • Henri LeclèreAffiliated withUMR 6249, Université de Franche-Comté, CNRS Email author 
  • , Martine BuatierAffiliated withUMR 6249, Université de Franche-Comté, CNRS
  • , Delphine CharpentierAffiliated withUMR 6249, Université de Franche-Comté, CNRS
  • , Jean-Pierre SizunAffiliated withUMR 6249, Université de Franche-Comté, CNRS
  • , Pierre LabaumeAffiliated withUMR 5243, Université de Monptellier 2, CNRS
  • , Thibault CavailhesAffiliated withUMR 5243, Université de Monptellier 2, CNRS

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The Restefond fault, located in the Late Eocene-Early Oligocene Alpine foreland basin, affects the well lithified and low porosity Grès d’Annot. The fault core zone is characterized by the occurrence of highly deformed sandstone lenses. Deformation inside the lenses corresponds to mm to sub-mm-spaced cleavage planes rich in phyllosilicates and up to cm-thick and dm-long quartz-calcite pure extensional veins. The cleavages are mostly composed of newly-formed synkinematic white mica and chlorite. By using thermodynamic thermometers based on the chemical composition of chlorite, a temperature of 200 ± 20 °C of fault activity was computed. This temperature shows that the Restefond fault was active at burial conditions comprised between 6.5 and 8 km, assuming a mean geothermal gradient between 25 and 30 °Ckm−1. The petrophysic properties of sandstones from the core zone and in the hanging and foot wall of the fault were determined on drilled plugs following three spacial directions. The permeability of the highly deformed sandstone from the core zone is about one order of magnitude higher than in the host rock. This increase in permeability occurs in the direction parallel to the S–C structures and is explained by the occurrence of well-connected micropores localized between platy phyllosilicates. This study shows that the fault petrophysic properties are mostly controlled by the precipitation of synkinematic phyllosilicates under deep burial conditions.


Fault Phyllosilicates Petrophysics Annot sandstones Temperature External Alps