Influence Of Lithology And Fluid Flow On The Temperature Distribution In A Sedimentary Basin- A Case Study From The Cold Lake Area, Alberta, Canada

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Journal Article: Influence Of Lithology And Fluid Flow On The Temperature Distribution In A Sedimentary Basin- A Case Study From The Cold Lake Area, Alberta, Canada

Abstract
A detailed study of the groundwater and terrestrial heat flow was carried out over an area of 23,700 km2 west of Cold Lake, Alberta, which is part of the western Canada sedimentary basin. The information for the study was provided from data from 3100 wells drilled in the area. The screening and processing of thousands of stratigraphic picks, drillstem test data, bottom hole temperatures and formation water chemistry data was performed mainly using a specially designed software package. As a result, every stratigraphic unit is characterized by appropriate hydraulic and thermal parameters. A sequence of aquifers, aquitards and aquicludes was differentiated. The groundwater flow in the Paleozoic aquifers is regional in nature and mainly horizontal. The flow in the Cretaceous aquifers is of intermediate type, mainly downward oriented. In general, the permeability of the Cretaceous and Paleozoic strata has such low values that the fluid velocity is less than 1 cm/yr. The convective heat transport in the hydrostratigraphic sequence is negligible with respect to the conductive heat transfer, as shown by the Peclet number of the fluid and heat flow in porous media. The flow of the terrestrial heat flux from the Precambrian basement of the sedimentary basin to the atmosphere is controlled by the variability in the thermal properties of the formations in the basin. The geothermal gradients were computed by hydrostratigraphic unit using a linear regression fit to the temperature data. As expected, they show higher values for the less conductive layers, and lower values for the more conductive ones. The weighted average, or the integral geothermal gradient of the whole sedimentary column, was computed by considering the difference between the temperature measured at the Precambrian basement and the annual average temperature at the surface. The areal distribution of the integral geothermal gradient (with an average of 22.0 mK/m) shows a strong correlation with the lithology. The areal temperature distribution for each hydrostratigraphic unit was analyzed by mapping the deviation of the measured value from the computed geothermal gradient. The lateral heat flow from warmer to colder areas is one order of magnitude smaller than the vertical heat flow. In the more homogeneous units, the lateral heat flow presents a trend that seems to reflect the geometry and lithology.

Author 
S. Bachu








Published Journal 
Tectonophysics, 1985





DOI 
10.1016/0040-1951(85)90054-X


 

Citation

S. Bachu. 1985. Influence Of Lithology And Fluid Flow On The Temperature Distribution In A Sedimentary Basin- A Case Study From The Cold Lake Area, Alberta, Canada. Tectonophysics. (!) .