Chinese Geographical Science

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 707–716 | Cite as

Porosity Distribution Characteristics and Geological Analysis of Brine Storage Medium in the Qaidam Basin, Western China

  • Shuya Hu
  • Changlai Xiao
  • Xiujuan Liang
  • Quansheng Zhao
  • Guangcai WangEmail author
  • Jianwei Zhang
  • Juan Feng


Underground brine is an unusual water resource that contains abundant mineral resources. It is distributed widely in the Qaidam Basin, western China, a hyperarid inland basin located in the northern Tibetan Plateau. Pores in the brine storage medium act as storage space and transmission channels of underground brine. Therefore, the porosity of brine storage medium determines its ability to store brine. In this study, Mahai Salt Lake was used as the research area as a modern saline lake located in the north area of the Qaidam Basin. A total of 100 porosity samples were collected from eight sampling points in two profiles of the research area at sampling depths of 1.30–314.78 m. The porosity distribution characteristics and influencing factors in brine storage medium were analysed according to the measured porosity data. Based on analysis of the pore structure characteristics, the brine storage medium contains intercrystalline pores, unlike conventional freshwater storage mediums. Moreover, the primary salt rock is susceptible to dissolution by lighter brine, facilitating the formation of secondary porosity. Due to the formation of secondary pores, a porosity greater than 20% remains even at buried depths greater than 100 m. Based on the geological statistical analysis, due to the geographic location, salt formation time, and depositional environment, the porosity values of Mahai Salt Lake do not exhibit a wider distribution, but also show more extreme values than a nearby salt lake. Based on the porosity characteristics by depth, due to the presence of secondary pores, flooding, stratigraphic static pressure, and other factors, porosity shows fluctuations with increasing depth.


porosity brine storage medium distribution characteristics geological analysis salt lakes in Qaidam Basin 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shuya Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Changlai Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiujuan Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Quansheng Zhao
    • 3
  • Guangcai Wang
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jianwei Zhang
    • 3
  • Juan Feng
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Groundwater Resources and Environment of the Ministry of EducationJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.College of Environmental and ResourcesJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringQingdao UniversityQingdaoChina
  4. 4.School of Water Resources and EnvironmentChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina

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