Determination of Basin-Scale Fluid Flux to Understand the Processes Controlling Regional Dolomitization in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

  • Jack Stacey

Student thesis: Phd


Dolomitization in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) has been extensively researched, with previous studies primarily focussing on hydrocarbon reservoirs hosted within differentially dolomitized Middle to Upper Devonian strata, and on Mississippi-Valley-Type lead-zinc deposits within pervasively dolomitized Middle Cambrian strata. This has resulted in a conflicting combination of dolomitization models that developed over multiple decades, which produced a combination of poorly defined concepts regarding dolomitizing fluid sources and migration pathways, and uncertainty regarding the timing of dolomitization. This study aimed to address these uncertainties by re-evaluating existing dolomitization models to establish how the Cambrian and Devonian strata of the WCSB were dolomitized, and to determine the principal controls on porosity and permeability in dolomitized strata to inform future mature field development and repurposing for carbon capture and storage (CCS). The results of this thesis demonstrate that Middle to Upper Devonian strata were dolomitized by the circulation of modified Devonian seawater along faults and basal aquifers during shallow burial (L. Devonian – Mississippian). Saddle dolomite cement (SDC) precipitated during deep burial (L. Cretaceous – Palaeocene) from hydrothermal basinal fluids (residual evapo-concentrated Middle Devonian seawater) that interacted with basal clastic (West Shale Basin and Peace River Arch areas) and carbonate (East Shale Basin) aquifers prior to their emplacement along faults. Results indicate that the Middle Cambrian Cathedral Formation was hydrothermally dolomitized by Cambrian seawater along surface-penetrating faults and basal aquifers, which continued during shallow burial (Middle Cambrian). During burial, an increasing component of serpentinite-derived fluids mixed with latent seawater (convecting along faults to ~6 km depth), facilitating burial dolomitization and SDC precipitation. The high pressure of these fluids, and the presence of overlying sealing shales, resulted in the formation of SD cemented breccias at very shallow depths (
Date of Award1 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGreg Holland (Supervisor) & Catherine Hollis (Supervisor)


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Fluid flow
  • Dolomitization
  • Faults
  • Aquifers

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