Petrographic characteristics of the Ordovician and Silurian deposits in the Baltic Basin (N Poland) and their relevance for unconventional hydrocarbon accumulations

Marta Kuberska, Magdalena Sikorska-Jaworowska, Aleksandra Kozłowska, Teresa Podhalańska


The Ordovician and Silurian deposits in the Baltic Basin are represented by siltstones, mudstones, limestones, marls, sandstones and, most commonly, claystones with a markedly shaley structure.  Claystones that are particularly rich in organic matter are considered as potential reservoirs for shale gas accumulations. Samples from 11 boreholes, including core samples of the Piaśnica, Słuchowo, Kopalino, Sasino, Prabuty, Jantar, Pelplin and locally Pasłęk, Kociewie and Puck formations, were analysed by optical microscopy, cathodoluminescence (CL), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectrometry and X-ray diffraction analyses (XRD). The Piaśnica, Sasino, Jantar, Pasłęk and Pelplin formations are characterized locally by a dominance of black bituminous claystones with a high content of organic matter, and a generally consistent clay mineral composition. Individual samples only show variations in silt fraction and carbonate content. Very important is the negligible proportion of swelling minerals in the clay fraction; the percentage of smectite in the mixed-layered illite/smectite minerals does not exceed 15%. It is important for the rocks to have adequate [SiO2 >10%; Quartz (Q) + Feldspars (Fs) + Carbonates >40%] brittleness. The content of quartz, feldspars and carbonates (here >40%) suggests that the claystones are susceptible to hydraulic fracturing. The claystones show micropores between detrital grains, between the flakes of clay minerals, within pyrite framboids, and organic matter and secondary micropores within grains.


petrography; mineralogy; shale-type accumulations; total organic carbon; Ordovician and Silurian rocks; Baltic Basin

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