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Ammonium fixation during illite-smectite diagenesis in Upper Jurassic shale, North Sea

  • H. Lindgreen

Abstract

Claystones of Kimmeridgian-Volgian-Ryazanian age are the main source rock for oil in the Central Trough, North Sea. During oil generation, illite layers form in illite-smectite (I-S) and the illitesmectites become short-range (IS) ordered and eventually long-range (ISII) ordered. The formation of illite layers involves dehydration and fixation of interlayer cations, K+ and NH4 +. The content of soluble NH4 and K in core samples and the content of NH4 and K in I-S were determined, the NH4 by an isotope dilution method. In the Central Trough, soluble K+ decreases with depth, whereas soluble NH4 + increases with depth. From ∼3 km, the ratio NH4/K increases with depth, to an average of ∼0.5 at 4.4 km. In I-S, the ratio NH4/K shows a similar increase with depth. The NH4/K ratio increases significantly in I-S during ordering. It is concluded that NH4 fixation in I-S may be of general importance during burial diagenesis of oil source rocks.

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