International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 101, Issue 1, pp 159–176 | Cite as

Carbonate diagenesis and feldspar alteration in fracture-related bleaching zones (Buntsandstein, central Germany): possible link to CO2-influenced fluid–mineral reactions

  • Jens Wendler
  • Jens Köster
  • Jens Götze
  • Norbert Kasch
  • Norbert Zisser
  • Jonas Kley
  • Dieter Pudlo
  • Georg Nover
  • Reinhard Gaupp
Original Paper


Fracture-related bleaching of Lower Triassic Buntsandstein red beds of central Germany was related to significant carbonate diagenesis and feldspar alteration caused by CO2-rich fluids. Using cathodoluminescence microscopy and spectroscopy combined with electron microprobe analysis and stable carbon isotope study, two major fluid–mineral interactions were detected: (1) zoned, joint-filling calcites and zoned pore-filling calcite cements, the latter replacing an earlier dolomite, were formed during bleaching. During the calcite formation and dolomite–calcite transformation, iron was incorporated into the calcite cement crystal cores due to Fe availability from the coeval bleaching. The dedolomitisation was ultimately associated with a volume increase. The related permeability decrease implies a certain degree of sealing and increasing retention of CO2, and the volume increase offers a minor CO2 sink. Carbonate-rich sandstone, therefore, can provide advantages for underground CO2 storage especially when situated in the fringes of the reservoir. (2) Alkali-feldspar alteration due to the bleaching fluids is reflected in cathodoluminescence spectra predominantly by the modulation of a brown luminescence emission peak (~620 nm). This peak represents a newly discovered effect related to alkali-feldspar alteration not solely associated with bleaching. Its modulation by the bleaching is interpreted to be due to Na depletion or a lattice defect in the Si–O bonds of the SiO4-tetrahedron. Alteration reflected by this luminescence feature has a destructive effect on the feldspars implying the possibility of diminished rock integrity due to bleaching and, hence, CO2-rich fluids. Two further CL spectral changes related to bleaching occur, (a) decreased intensity between around 570 nm assigned to Mn-depletion, and (b) increased amplitude and wavelength shift of the red (~680 nm) band. Converging evidence from carbonate and feldspar diagenesis, stable carbon isotope data and analysis of fracture directions suggests that CO2 fluids contributed to a significant extent to the bleaching phenomena and alteration in the studied Buntsandstein strata.


Buntsandstein Bleaching Cathodoluminescence spectroscopy Carbonate diagenesis Feldspar alteration Carbon capture and storage 



This study was made possible through the generous support of the Amt für Straßen- und Verkehrswesen, Eschwege which provided logistics during sampling as well as comprehensive data such as borehole logs, reports and borehole videos. We would particularly like to thank U. Vath for being so accessible and helpful. F. Linde and S. Bergmann prepared thin sections and processed samples. We thank F. Galbert (ZELMI, TU Berlin) for comprehensive assistance with the microprobe measurements. M. Segl, Bremen, measured stable isotopes. The BMBF (German Ministry for Education and Research) and specifically the program ‘GEOTECHNOLOGIEN’ provided funding in the frame of the research project ‘COMICOR: Fault-related CO2 fluid migration and its impact on wall rock alteration and the integrity of CO2 reservoir rocks’ (Fund 03G0695A).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Wendler
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jens Köster
    • 1
  • Jens Götze
    • 2
  • Norbert Kasch
    • 1
  • Norbert Zisser
    • 3
  • Jonas Kley
    • 1
  • Dieter Pudlo
    • 1
  • Georg Nover
    • 3
  • Reinhard Gaupp
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeosciencesFriedrich-Schiller-University JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Institute of MineralogyTU Bergakademie FreibergFreibergGermany
  3. 3.Steinmann-Institute, Section HPHT/PetrophysicsRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University BonnBonnGermany
  4. 4.Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian InstitutionNational Museum of Natural HistoryWashingtonUSA

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