Depositional and structural controls on a fault-related dolostone formation (Maestrat Basin, E Spain)

Elliot Humphrey* (Corresponding Author), Enrique Gomez-Rivas, J. D. Martin-Martin, Joyce Neilson, R. Salas, Joan Guimera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Fault-related dolomitisation is responsible for the development of numerous hydrocarbon reservoirs hosted in diagenetically-altered carbonates and is therefore critical to hydrocarbon exploration, subsurface storage (i.e., CO2), the formation of associated mineralisation (i.e., MVT-deposits) and for understanding the key controls on subsurface fluid flow. Multiple dolomitised outcrop analogues have been characterised in recent years, but uncertainty still
remains as to the controls on dolomitisation in terms of dolostone geobody size and geometries, their distribution and how they impact on reservoir quality. Late Tithonian shallow-marine carbonates at Serra Esparreguera in the Maestrat Basin (E. Spain) were partially dolomitised on the seismic scale, resulting in a spectrum of geobodies with varying degrees of spatial connectivity. Dolostone predominantly replaces Polpís Fm wackestones and packstones, and bioclastic grainstones of the Bovalar Fm. Dolostone geobodies transition through vertical
stratigraphy from being massive and spatially extensive to localised stratabound bodies as textural heterogeneity increases. Irregular dolostone geometries occur in the Polpís Fm, which is texturally homogenous relative to the overlying Bovalar Fm, cross-cutting bedding in areas with high abundance of faults. Faults occur adjacent to dolostone and constrain its lateral extent across the outcrop. Dolomitisation fronts are typically sharp with morphologies affected by
small-scale faults and bedding-parallel stylolites. Dolomitisation occurred under burial conditions and dolostones were later overprinted by phases of calcite and saddle dolomite cementation. The spatial distribution of dolostone is strongly influenced by the depositional heterogeneity and faults, whilst smaller structures (i.e., metre-scale fractures and stylolites) and bedding surfaces controlled the dolomitisation front geometry. Dolostone geobodies at Serra Esparreguera provide new insights into the structural, depositional and diagenetic controls on
dolomitisation at a seismic scale, which can be used as a predictive guide to improve the understanding of carbonate reservoirs with complex paragenetic histories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-990
Number of pages30
JournalBasin Research
Issue number2
Early online date23 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil & Gas, through a PhD grant to EH. Equinor ASA are thanked for providing additional support. Additional funding was provided by the Grup Consolidat de Recerca “Geologia Sedimentària” (2017SGR-824) and DGICYT Spanish Projects CGL2017-85532-P, PGC2018-093903-B-C22 and PID2020-118999GB-I00, all funded by the Agencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI) and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER). EGR
acknowledges the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities for the “Ramón y Cajal” fellowship RYC2018-026335-I. EH, EGR, JDM and JN conceived the idea and provided funding whilst field data was collected by EH, EGR, and JDM. EH organised the sampling for geochemical analysis (supervised by JDM) and RS and JG provided the regional stratigraphic context and structural cross-section. Petrographic data was collected by EH (supervised by JN). EH wrote the manuscript with edits and contributions provided by all co authors.

Data Availability Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


  • Fault-related dolomitisation
  • dolostone
  • structural diagenesis
  • carbonate
  • Maestrat basin


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