Measurement And Analysis Of Thermal Conductivity Of Rocks In The Tarim Basin, Northwest China

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Journal Article: Measurement And Analysis Of Thermal Conductivity Of Rocks In The Tarim Basin, Northwest China

As a parameter that describes heat transmission properties of rocks, thermal conductivity is indispensable for studying the thermal regime of sedimentary basins, and retrieving high-quality data of thermal conductivity is the basis for geothermal related studies. The optical scanning method is used here to measure the thermal conductivity of 745 drill-core samples from the Tarim basin, the largest intermontane basin with abundant hydrocarbon potential in China, and water saturation correction is made for clastic rock samples that are of variable porosity. All the measured values, combined with previously published data in this area, are integrated to discuss the distribution characteristics and major controlling factors that affect the thermal conductivity of rocks in the basin. Our results show that the values of thermal conductivity of rocks generally range from 1.500 to 3.000 W/m.K with a mean of 2.304 W/m.K. Thermal conductivity differs considerably between lithological types: the value of a coal sample is found to be the lowest as being only 0.249 W/m.K, while the values for salt rock samples are the highest with a mean of 4.620 W/m.K. Additionally, it is also found that the thermal conductivity of the same or similar lithologic types shows considerable differences, suggesting that thermal conductivity cannot be used for distinguishing the rock types. The thermal conductivity values of mudstone and sandstone generally increase with increasing burial depth and geological age of the formation, reflecting the effect of porosity of rocks on thermal conductivity. In general, the mineral composition, fabric and porosity of rocks are the main factors that affect the thermal conductivity. The research also reveals that the obvious contrast in thermal conductivity of coal and salt rock with other common sedimentary rocks can induce subsurface temperature anomalies in the overlying and underlying formations, which can modify the thermal evolution and maturity of the source rocks concerned. This finding is very important for oil and gas resources assessment and exploration and needs further study in detail. The results reported here are representative of the latest and most complete dataset of thermal conductivity of rocks in the Tarim basin, and will provide a solid foundation for geothermal studies in future.

S. W. Liu, C. G. Feng, L. S. Wang and C. Li

Published Journal 
Acta Geologica Sinica-English Edition, Date Not Provided

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S. W. Liu,C. G. Feng,L. S. Wang,C. Li. . Measurement And Analysis Of Thermal Conductivity Of Rocks In The Tarim Basin, Northwest China. Acta Geologica Sinica-English Edition. (!) .