Petrographic examination of 74 outcrop samples of Paleocene through Pliocene age from the onshore Gulf of Alaska Tertiary Province indicates that sandstones of the province characteristically are texturally immature and mineralogically unstable. Diagenetic alteration of framework grains throughout the stratigraphic sequence has produced widespread zeolite cement or phyllosilicate grain coatings and pseudomatrix. Multiple deformation and deep burial of the older Tertiary sequence--the Orca Group, the shale of Haydon Peak, and the Kulthieth and Tokun Formations--caused extensive alteration and grain interpenetration, resulting in low porosity values. Less intense deformation and intermediate depth of burial of the younger Tertiary sequence--the Katalla, Poul Creek, Redwood, and Yakataga Formations--has resulted in a greater range in textural properties. Most sandstone samples in the younger Tertiary sequence are poorly sorted, tightly packed, and have strongly appressed framework grains, but some are less tightly packed and contain less matrix. Soft and mineralogically unstable framework grains have undergone considerable alteration, reducing pore space even in the youngest rocks.
Measurements of porosity, permeability, grain density, and sonic velocity of outcrop samples of the younger Tertiary sequence indicate a modest up-section improvement in sandstone reservoir characteristics. Nonetheless porosity and permeability values typically are below 16 percent and 15 millidarcies respectively and grain densities are consistently high, about 2.7 gm/cc. Low permeability and porosity values, and high grain densities and sonic velocities appear to be typical of most outcrop areas throughout the onshore Gulf of Alaska Tertiary Province.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Textural and mineralogical study of sandstones from the onshore Gulf of Alaska Tertiary Province, southern Alaska