Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 87–100 | Cite as

A numerical study of mineral alteration and self-sealing efficiency of a caprock for CO2 geological storage

  • Hailong Tian
  • Tianfu Xu
  • Fugang WangEmail author
  • Vivek V. Patil
  • Yuan Sun
  • Gaofan Yue
Review Paper


Geochemical interactions of brine–rock–gas have a significant impact on the stability and integrity of the caprock for long-term CO2 geological storage. Invasion of CO2 into the caprock from the storage reservoir by (1) molecular diffusion of dissolved CO2, (2) CO2-water two-phase flow after capillary breakthrough, and (3) CO2 flow through existing open fractures may alter the mineralogy, porosity, and mechanical strength of the caprock due to the mineral dissolution or precipitation. This determines the self-enhancement or self-sealing efficiency of the caprock. In this paper, two types of caprock, a clay-rich shale and a mudstone, are considered for the modeling analyses of the self-sealing and self-enhancement phenomena. The clay-rich shale taken from the Jianghan Basin of China is used as the base-case model. The results are compared with a mudstone caprock which is compositionally very different than the clay-rich shale. We focus on mineral alterations induced by the invasion of CO2, feedback on medium properties such as porosity, and the self-sealing efficiency of the caprock. A number of sensitivity simulations are performed using the multiphase reactive transport code TOUGHREACT to identify the major minerals that have an impact on the caprock’s self-sealing efficiency. Our model results indicate that under the same hydrogeological conditions, the mudstone is more suitable to be used as a caprock. The sealing distances are barely different in the two types of caprock, both being about 0.6 m far from the interface between the reservoir and caprock. However, the times of occurrence of sealing are considerably different. For the mudstone model, the self-sealing occurs at the beginning of simulation, while for the clay-rich shale model, the porosity begins to decline only after 100 years. At the bottom of the clay-rich shale column, the porosity declines to 0.034, while that of mudstone declines to 0.02. The sensitive minerals in the clay-rich shale model are calcite, magnesite, and smectite-Ca. Anhydrite and illite provide Ca2+ and Mg2+ to the sensitive minerals for their precipitation. The mudstone model simulation is divided into three stages. There are different governing minerals in different stages, and the effect of the reservoir formation water on the alteration of sensitive minerals is significant.


Caprock CO2 geological storage Integrity of caprock Jianghan Basin Self-sealing efficiency 



This work greatly benefited from Jilin University’s Groundwater Resources and Environments Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education (China), from China Scholarship Council and public welfare industry special funds for scientific research from Ministry of Land and Resources of China (Grant No. 201211063-06), from Graduate Innovation Fund of Jilin University (No. 20121069).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hailong Tian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tianfu Xu
    • 1
  • Fugang Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vivek V. Patil
    • 2
  • Yuan Sun
    • 3
  • Gaofan Yue
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Groundwater Resources and Environment, Ministry of EducationJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  3. 3.Center for Computer Fundamental EducationJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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