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Volcanic settings and their reservoir potential: An outcrop analog study on the Miocene Tepoztlán Formation, Central Mexico

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  • Nils Lenhardt
  • Annette E. Götz
The reservoir potential of volcanic and associated sedimentary rocks is less documented in regard to groundwater resources, and oil and gas storage compared to siliciclastic and carbonate systems. Outcrop analog studies within a volcanic setting enable to identify spatio-temporal architectural elements and geometric features of different rock units and their petrophysical properties such as porosity and permeability, which are important information for reservoir characterization. Despite the wide distribution of volcanic rocks in Mexico, their reservoir potential has been little studied in the past. In the Valley of Mexico, situated 4000 m above the Neogene volcanic rocks, groundwater is a matter of major importance as more than 20 million people and 42% of the industrial capacity of the Mexican nation depend on it for most of their water supply. Here, we present porosity and permeability data of 108 rock samples representing five different lithofacies types of the Miocene Tepoztlán Formation. This 800 m thick formation mainly consists of pyroclastic rocks, mass flow and fluvial deposits and is part of the southern Transmexican Volcanic Belt, cropping out south of the Valley of Mexico and within the two states of Morelos and Mexico State. Porosities range from 1.4% to 56.7%; average porosity is 24.8%. Generally, permeabilities are low to median (0.2–933.3 mD) with an average permeability of 88.5 mD. The lavas are characterized by the highest porosity values followed by tuffs, conglomerates, sandstones and tuffaceous breccias. On the contrary, the highest permeabilities can be found in the conglomerates, followed by tuffs, tuffaceous breccias, sandstones and lavas. The knowledge of these petrophysical rock properties provides important information on the reservoir potential of volcanic settings to be integrated to 3D subsurface models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-75
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume204
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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