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Modeling metamorphic fluid flow with reaction-compaction permeability feedbacks

By B. Yardley and V.N. Balashov


Existing models of metasomatic flow do not allow for the effect that reaction has on the flow patterns. Instead, it is assumed that the volatiles produced are negligible in volume compared to those infiltrated and that reaction does not modify permeability. This is clearly unlikely to be true for infiltration-driven decarbonation reactions.\ud The rates of porosity creation by reaction and porosity loss by creep have been calculated for a representative volume of calcite –quartz-wollastonite marble, and it is found that, even for a weak calcite matrix, the rate of porosity generation by reaction is likely to outstrip the collapse of porosity, as long as the system is out of equilibrium.\ud We have applied a self-consistent 1D finite-difference model to the reaction of calcite + quartz to wollastonite in a 10m thick marble, in response to influx of H2O rich fluid, with fixed boundary conditions. The model allows us to evaluate the effect of reaction on the porosity structure and fluid pressure variation across the layer, from which local Darcy fluxes can be evaluated. The progress of reaction that we model is constrained by hydrological considerations, with the requisite parameters recalculated as reaction progresses, assuming creep compaction of rock under the stress difference between lithostatic and fluid pressures.\ud We fnd that the volume of fluid realised by decarbonation, driven by influx of H20, is sufficient to create a back-flow, so that further advancement of the reaction front is only possible as a result of diffusion of water against the Darcy flux. The effect of creep driven by differences between fluid pressure and lithostatic pressure is to reduce the permeability of the layer and especially reduce the secondary porosity developed in the zone at and behind the advancing reaction front. We predict that in a 3D situation, the porous zone of reacted marble becomes a conduit for layer-parallel flow, and the secondary porosity is infilled by calc-silicate minerals due to silica metasomatism.\u

Year: 1998
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