Thermal Analysis: A Complementary Method to Study the Shurijeh Clay Minerals

Document Type : Research Paper


School of Mining Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Clay minerals are considered the most important components of clastic reservoir rock evaluation studies. The Shurijeh gas reservoir Formation, represented by shaly sandstones of the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous age, is the main reservoir rock in the Eastern Kopet-Dagh sedimentary Basin, NE Iran. In this study, X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), scanning electron microscopic (SEM) studies, and thermal analysis including differential thermal analysis (DTA), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) techniques were utilized in the characterization of the Shurijeh clay minerals in ten representative samples. The XRF studies showed that silica and aluminum oxides are present quantities. The XRD test was then used to determine the mineralogical composition of bulk components, as well as the clay fraction. The XRD patterns indicated the presence of dominant amount of quartz and plagioclase, with moderate to minor amounts of alkali feldspar, anhydrite, carbonates (calcite and dolomite), hematite and clay minerals. The most common clays in the Shurijeh Formation were illite, chlorite, and kaolinite. However, in very few samples, glauconite, smectite, and mixed layer clay minerals of both illite-smectite and chlorite-smectite types were also recognized. The XRD results were quantified, using the elemental information from the XRF test, showing that each Shurijeh exhibited low to moderate amounts of clay minerals, typically up to 21%. The amount of illite, the most dominant clay mineral, reached maximum of 13.5%, while the other clay types were significantly smaller. Based on the use of SEM and thermal data, the results of the identification of clay minerals, corresponded with the powder X-ray diffraction analysis, which can be taken into account as an evidence of the effectiveness of the thermal analysis technique in clay typing, as a complementary method besides the XRD.


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