Effect of faceting on pore geometry in texturally equilibrated rocks: implications for low permeability at low porosity
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The pore geometry of texturally equilibrated rocks is controlled by the interfacial energy ratio between grain boundaries and solid–liquid boundaries. Faceting at pore walls, which is a common feature of pore networks in rocks, strongly affects the liquid distribution. We investigated the effects of faceting on the equilibrium pore geometries based on image analysis of several systems with various degrees of faceting and dihedral angles. The degree of faceting was assessed by the F value, which is the ratio of the flat interface length at the pore wall to the length of total interfacial boundary between solid and liquid. The F values tend to increase with increasing liquid volume fraction. Little-faceted systems show relatively homogeneous liquid distribution. Moderately-faceted systems with a higher dihedral angle (∼55°) are characterized by development of large pores surrounded by faceted walls and complementary shrinkage of triple junction tubes, whereas strongly faceted systems with a low dihedral angle show no evidence of shrinking triple junction tubes, although most pores are surrounded by faceted pore walls. The faceted systems tend to produce more facet boundaries at the pore walls due to the difference of interfacial energies between the flat and curved surfaces. In the systems with the same degree of faceting, heterogeneity of liquid distribution tends to decrease with dihedral angle. For faceting systems, the permeability of texturally equilibrated rocks with low liquid fraction would be significantly decreased by the relative reduction of triple junction volumes or by closure of channels along grain edge due to the truncation of facet walls.
KeywordsDihedral Angle Interfacial Energy Pore Wall Triple Junction Polished Section
We are grateful to Y. Liang, Y. Takei and T. Hatakeyama for discussion. The comments of anonymous reviewer and U. H. Faul adided in improving the manuscript. This work was supported by the Research Fellowships to T. Y. from the Japan Society for Promotion of Science for Young Scientists. Experiments and analyses at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute were supported by U.S. Department of Energy grant no. DE-FG02-94ER1443 to E.B. Watson.
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