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Fractal Characteristics and Heterogeneity of the Nanopore Structure of Marine Shale in Southern North China

Key Laboratory of Computational Geodynamics, College of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 242;
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomineralogy)
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The characteristics of the nanopore structure in shale play a crucial role in methane adsorption and in determining the occurrence and migration of shale gas. In this study, using an integrated approach of X-ray diffraction (XRD), N2 adsorption, and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), we systematically focused on eight drilling samples of marine Taiyuan shale from well ZK1 in southern North China to study the characteristics and heterogeneity of their nanopore structure. The results indicated that different sedimentary environments may control the precipitation of clay and quartz between transitional shale and marine shale, leading to different organic matter (OM)–clay relationships and different correlations between total organic carbon (TOC) and mineral content. The shale with high TOC content tended to have more heterogeneous micropores, leading to a higher fractal dimension and a more complex nanopore structure. With the increase of TOC content and thermal evolution of OM, the heterogeneity of the pore structure became more significant. Quartz from marine shale possessed abundant macropores, resulting in a decrease of the Brunauere–Emmette–Teller (BET) surface area (SA) and an increase of the average pore size (APS), while clay minerals developed a large number of micropores which worked together with OM to influence the nanopore structure of shale, leading to the increase of the SA and the decrease of the APS. The spatial order of interlayer pores increased with the increase of mixed-layer illite–smectite (MLIS) content, which naturally reduced the fractal dimensions. In contrast, kaolinite, chlorite, and illite have a small number of nanopores, which might enhance the complexity and reduce the connectivity of the nanopore system by mean of pore-blocking. Taiyuan shale with higher heterogeneity is highly fractal, and its fractal dimensions are principally related to the micropores. The fractal dimensions correlate positively with the SA and total pore volume, suggesting that marine shale with higher heterogeneity may possess a larger SA and a higher total pore volume. View Full-Text
Keywords: southern North China; marine shale; nanopore structure; heterogeneity; fractal dimension southern North China; marine shale; nanopore structure; heterogeneity; fractal dimension

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Yu, K.; Ju, Y.; Qi, Y.; Qiao, P.; Huang, C.; Zhu, H.; Feng, H. Fractal Characteristics and Heterogeneity of the Nanopore Structure of Marine Shale in Southern North China. Minerals 2019, 9, 242.

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