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monest porosities are interparticle (especiallv in sandstones) and intercrystalline (especially in dolomires), either of which may be of pinpoint dimensions.


Principal factors controlling porosity


, Grain or particle size The actual particle size is theoretically irnmaterial. However , all ordinary depositional mechanisms are such that the ccarser the average gr ain size the grearer the overall variety o sizes. A rock rnay easily consist of ver)' fine sand grains and little else; it will not long survive tonsisting of tennis-baIl-sized cobbles and nothing else.Hence iner-grained sediments in general have higher porosities than coarsergrained sedirnents because there are invariably other factors in play. For exarnple , freshly deposited clays have porosities of 50-85 percent. Fine sandy loam may attain 52 percent, and fine sand 48 percent, bu! coarse sand without cernent is unlikely to surpass 40 percent. In sandstones, the sizes of the pores and pore-throats commonly retain a close correlation with particle size. In unaltered carbonates, there is also a general relarion (Fig.l1.1), rhe pore diameter (J.Lp) being smaller than the grain diarneter (J.Lg) (Fig.l1.2); but carbonates undergo such a variety o modifications that the relation is cornmonly obscured or destroyed.

The greatest porosity is rhe oretically possessed bYa. rock consisring of sphe rical grains of uniorrn size. CUbic'packing of uniforrn sphe rical grains results in porcsit 0(. 47 .6ptTc.en't, onr.mr.(HIl.bic packingof39.5 percent , and' rhornbohedral packing of about 26 percent (Fig. 11.3). The lowest porosity is theoretically provided with un-; assorted angular grains. In practice, gr ain shapes have.' unexpected effects. Grains of high sphericirytend to' pack with minimum pare space: as absoJute uniformitv' of grain size is never achieved, even in windbJow; sands or oolitic limesiones , bimodal and polymodal size . patterns Jower the -theoretica) porosities.The best' actual porosities are often found in rocks conslStino of well sorted angular OI subangular grains, as in ma~~ , calcar enites. .

Method of depositian Poorly soned sedirnents are less. porous than well sorted sediments: the ultirnate porositv'! is.highly deperident upon the degree of sorting, packing helps to sort the grains aeeording to size , but it tends. always to make the rock as tight as possible. Deposit:" ional packing of course is continued by post-depositiona!' packing and then by cornpaction under an increasin~'; Joad of overlying sedirnents. ' -:

Grain or partcle .shape In sandstones, the shapes of the pares are obviously strongly dependent upon the shapes of the grains. In carbonates this is seldom the case unless complete dolomitization has occurred. However , the r117WUll/ of pore space is arnbiguously related to grain shapes.

Effects of compaction Compaction rnay be defined as' the process by which porosity is reduced below the: water-conrerit boundary between the plastic and the' semi-salid state (the so-called Atierberg plastic limi!).,,: The process is induced by stress, the grains oeing de-. formed in a rnanner which is both inelastic and irreversible; they do no! recover elastically when-the load is removed. "


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Figure 11.1 Tendency toward ocsitive correlation between median pore-throat diarneter and porositv in dolornites. For a g:ven pc.ositv there is a maximum throat diameter (broken line) that is no: 'exceeded. (From N, C. Wardlaw. MPG BulI.. 1976,)

Figure 11.2 increase o; ocre d:3T,te: wilh grain d.e.r.ete.. b:;t" rneasured In microrneters. Pare S:Z2 tenos te be le ss tha'"', ora.r s ze (Frorn N, C. \'\iardlaw . .t.A;:>G Butt., 1976,i -