Fault-controlled dolostone geometries in a transgressive–regressive sequence stratigraphic framework

Shuqing Yao*, Enrique Gomez-Rivas, Juan Diego Martín-Martín, David Gómez-Gras, Anna Travé, Albert Griera, John A. Howell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the geometries of fault-controlled dolostone geobodies and their structural and sequence stratigraphic controls, which provide new insights for the prediction and production of fault-controlled dolomitized hydrocarbon reservoirs. A very thick succession (>1600 m) of Aptian–Albian shallow-marine carbonates of the Benassal Formation that crop out in the Benicàssim area (Maestrat Basin, eastern Spain) is partly replaced by dolomite, resulting in dolostone geometries ranging from massive patches to stratabound bodies. Detailed mapping, systematic logging and correlation were carried out to characterize the structural, sedimentary and sequence stratigraphic framework of the area and to constrain the principal controls on the full-range of dolostone geometries. The results show that carbonate sediments accumulated in a half graben stacked in three transgressive–regressive sequences. Large-scale massive dolostone patches (with up to kilometre extension) formed near large-scale faults indicating that they acted as entry points for warm dolomitizing fluids into the basin. These dolostone patches laterally pass to large stratabound bodies that extend for long distances (at least 7 km) away from feeding faults, forming a continuum. The presence of a regional unconformity and a clastic fine-grain low-permeability unit (Escucha Formation) on top of the Benassal Formation likely constrained the dolomitization fluids to an up to 580 m thick interval below the base of the Escucha Formation. Thus, only limestones within this interval, corresponding to the two uppermost transgressive–regressive sequences, were dolomitized. There is a clear relationship between the stratigraphic framework and the preferred replaced beds. Dolomitization preferentially affected sediments deposited in inner to middle ramp settings with predominant wackestone to packstone textures. Such facies are laterally most abundant in the east of the study area (i.e. basinward) and vertically in layers around the maximum flooding zone of the top sequence, which is preferentially affected by dolomitization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3290-3316
Number of pages27
Issue number6
Early online date30 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Aptian–Albian
  • diagenesis
  • fault-controlled dolomitization
  • Maestrat Basin
  • outcrop analogue
  • stratigraphic sequence


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