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Geochemistry and Diagenesis of Carbonates

Diagenesis continuously alters carbonate rocks and consequently their petrophysical properties. Our research projects have thus a double focus; one to understand the diagenetic processes, and two, to relate the diagenetic alterations to the resulting rock properties. 

This year the focus is on improving the clumped isotope method in particular the application of Δ48 proxy to various aspects of carbonate precipitation. The clumped isotope method used Δ47 together with an empirical calibration to determine the temperature of precipitation of limestone and dolostone. The Δ48 proxy can now test this calibration and establish the temperature of systems which are in disequilibrium with respect to the Δ47 value.

In the CCUS topic, we will compare the flux and the storage of organic carbon in the natural and anthropogenic altered environment of South Florida. 

Current Projects

Assessing the Thermal History of the Neuquén Basin using Clumped Isotopes


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Investigators: Peter K. Swart, Chaojin Lu, Ralf J. Weger, and Gregor P. Eberli

Project Objectives:

  • Assess the geothermal history of the Vaca Muerta Basin using the Δ47 proxy.



Elemental Signatures of Productivity and Preservation in the Vaca Muerta Formation


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Investigators: Amanda Oehlert, Gregor P. Eberli, Ralf J. Weger, Laura Rueda, and Peter K. Swart

Project Objectives:

  • Conduct laboratory-based measurements of elements that were poorly resolved in XRF dataset, including Ba, U, and Mo using ICP-QQQ.

  • Calculate enrichment factors, elemental ratios, and conduct rolling window regression analysis using integrated dataset.

  • Refine interpretations for differences in the origin (enhanced productivity and/or preservation) of high %TOC intervals in Upper Tithonian and Lower-Middle Berriasian aged cores from the Vaca Muerta Formation.


Application of the Δ48 Proxy to the Real World


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File Size:414KB


Investigators: Peter K. Swart, Chaojin Lu, and Juntao Zhang

Project Objectives:

  • Application of the Δ48 proxy to geological materials with constrained histories.

  • Apply the Δ48 proxy to materials which are known to have formed in isotopic disequilibrium with respect to the Δ47 value.



Characterization of Seawater Conditions Favorable for Microbial Hydrocarbon Source-Reservoir Systems in the Ancient Precambrian


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Investigators: Dongya Zhu, Quanyou Liu, Mara R. Diaz, Jingbin Wang, Guang Hu, Zhiliang He, and Qian Ding

Project Objectives:

  • Examine the organic features related to microbial activities and assess the potential of hydrocarbon source rocks in the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation.

  • Analysis of the microbialite types, microbial relics, and reservoir porosity within the microbialite system in the Ediacaran Dengying Formation.

  • Explore the Precambrian oceanic conditions and the controls operating on the development of microbe-related source rocks and microbialite reservoirs.

  • Establish a model for microbial source-reservoir assemblage systems in the Precambrian.


Blue Carbon: A Case Study in South Florida


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File Size:435KB


Investigators: Peter K. Swart, Amel Saied, Greta J. Mackenzie, Michael Lutz, and Chaojin Lu

Project Objectives:

  • Compare the flux and the storage of organic carbon in a relatively natural portion of the South Florida Ecosystem with one which has been heavily anthropogenically affected.




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