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Influence of depositional environment on coalbed methane accumulation in the Carboniferous-Permian coal of the Qinshui Basin, northern China

  • Haihai HouEmail author
  • Longyi ShaoEmail author
  • Shuai Wang
  • Zhenghui Xiao
  • Xuetian Wang
  • Zhen Li
  • Guangyuan Mu
Research Article
  • 2 Downloads

Abstract

Based on analyses of the lithofacies palaeogeography of the Taiyuan and the Shanxi Formations in the Qinshui Basin, the spatial variations of the coal seam thickness, coal maceral composition, coal quality, and gas content, together with the lithofacies of the surrounding rocks in each palaeogeographic unit were investigated. The results show that the thick coals of the Taiyuan Formation are mainly distributed in delta and barrier island depositional units in the Yangquan area in the northern part of the basin and the Zhangzi area in the southeastern part of the basin. The thick coals of the Shanxi Formation are located within transitional areas between delta plain and delta front depositional units in the central southern part of the basin. The Taiyuan Formation generally includes mudstone in its lower part, thick, continuous coal seams and limestones in its middle part, and thin, discontinuous coal seams and limestone and sand-mud interbeds in its top part. The Shanxi Formation consists of thick, continuous sandstones in its lower part, thick coal seams in its middle part, and thin coal seams, sandstone, and thick mudstone in its upper part. From the perspective of coal-bearing sedimentology and coalbed methane (CBM) geology, the lithology and thickness of the surrounding rocks of coal seams play more significant roles in controlling gas content variation than other factors such as coal thickness, coal macerals, and coal quality. Furthermore, it is found that the key factors influencing the gas content variation are the thicknesses of mudstone and limestone overlying a coal seam. At similar burial depths, the gas content of the Taiyuan coal seams decreases gradually in the lower delta plain, barrier-lagoon, delta front, barrier-tidal flat, and carbonate platform depositional units. The CBM enrichment areas tend to be located in zones of poorly developed limestone and well-developed mudstone. In addition, the gas content of the Shanxi Formation is higher in the coals of the delta front facies compared to those in the lower delta plain. The CBM enrichment areas tend to be associated with the thicker mudstones. Therefore, based on the lithologic distribution and thickness of the rocks overlying the coal seam in each palaeogeographic unit of the Taiyuan and Shanxi Formations, the areas with higher gas content are located in the north-central basin for the Taiyuan coals and in the southern basin for the Shanxi coals. Both of these areas should be favorable for CBM exploration in the Qinshui Basin.

Keywords

depositional environment coalbed methane enrichment condition gas content Taiyuan Formation Shanxi Formation 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project (2016ZX05041004-003), the China Geological Survey Scientific Research Project (1212011220794, DD20160204-03, and DD20160204-YQ17W01) and the PhD Research Foundation of Liaoning Technical University (20181124 and 20170520312).

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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Geoscience and Surveying EngineeringChina University of Mining and TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of MiningLiaoning Technical UniversityFuxinChina
  3. 3.School of Civil EngineeringHunan University of Science and TechnologyXiangtanChina

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