SILLi 1.0: a 1-D numerical tool quantifying the thermal effects of sill intrusions

Iyer, Karthik; Svensen, Henrik; Schmid, Daniel W.

Igneous intrusions in sedimentary basins may have a profound effect on the thermal structure and physical properties of the hosting sedimentary rocks. These include mechanical effects such as deformation and uplift of sedimentary layers, generation of overpressure, mineral reactions and porosity evolution, and fracturing and vent formation following devolatilization reactions and the generation of COinline-formula2 and CHinline-formula4. The gas generation and subsequent migration and venting may have contributed to several of the past climatic changes such as the end-Permian event and the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Additionally, the generation and expulsion of hydrocarbons and cracking of pre-existing oil reservoirs around a hot magmatic intrusion are of significant interest to the energy industry. In this paper, we present a user-friendly 1-D finite element method (FEM)-based tool, SILLi, which calculates the thermal effects of sill intrusions on the enclosing sedimentary stratigraphy. The model is accompanied by three case studies of sills emplaced in two different sedimentary basins, the Karoo Basin in South Africa and the Vøring Basin off the shore of Norway. An additional example includes emplacement of a dyke in a cooling pluton which forgoes sedimentation within a basin. Input data for the model are the present-day well log or sedimentary column with an Excel input file and include rock parameters such as thermal conductivity, total organic carbon (TOC) content, porosity and latent heats. The model accounts for sedimentation and burial based on a rate calculated by the sedimentary layer thickness and age. Erosion of the sedimentary column is also included to account for realistic basin evolution. Multiple sills can be emplaced within the system with varying ages. The emplacement of a sill occurs instantaneously. The model can be applied to volcanic sedimentary basins occurring globally. The model output includes the thermal evolution of the sedimentary column through time and the changes that take place following sill emplacement such as TOC changes, thermal maturity and the amount of organic and carbonate-derived COinline-formula2. The TOC and vitrinite results can be readily benchmarked within the tool to present-day values measured within the sedimentary column. This allows the user to determine the conditions required to obtain results that match observables and leads to a better understanding of metamorphic processes in sedimentary basins.

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Iyer, Karthik / Svensen, Henrik / Schmid, Daniel W.: SILLi 1.0: a 1-D numerical tool quantifying the thermal effects of sill intrusions. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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