Geochemical and geomechanical alteration of siliciclastic reservoir rock by supercritical CO2-saturated brine formed during geological carbon sequestration

Samantha J. Fuchs, D. Nicholas Espinoza, Christina L. Lopano, Ange Therese Akono, Charles J. Werth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Geologic carbon sequestration (GCS) is an approach for storing CO2 and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. During GCS, carbon dioxide dissolves into pore water, resulting in a low-pH brine that can react with reservoir rock minerals. This work evaluates the effects of geochemical reactions on geomechanical integrity of representative siliciclastic reservoir samples obtained from the Mt. Simon formation. Rock samples were aged 4 or 8 weeks in CO2-saturated brine under reservoir conditions, and in N2-saturated brine as a control. Post-aging, CT scans revealed more extensive micro-fracture development along horizontal bedding planes at grain edges in CO2 versus N2-aged samples. Digital analysis of CO2-aged samples showed porosity increase from 8.1% to 15.8%. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the loss of clay cementation, greater exposure of quartz and K-feldspar grains, and apparent surface roughening (confirmed by laser profilometry) in CO2-aged samples, but not in N2-aged samples. Fracture toughness as evaluated by scratch testing was reduced by 32.1% after 4 weeks in scCO2-saturated brine and 69.5% after 8 weeks. The primary reason for weakening appears to be detachment of clays from quartz and feldspar grain surfaces, resulting in weakening of the rock matrix. Rock weakening may alter the geomechanical stability of storage formations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Fracture toughness
  • Geochemistry
  • Geologic carbon sequestration
  • Geomechanics
  • Mt. Simon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Energy(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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