The Persistence of Brines in Sedimentary Basins

Grant Ferguson, Jennifer C. McIntosh, Stephen E. Grasby, M. Jim Hendry, Scott Jasechko, Matthew B.J. Lindsay, Elco Luijendijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Brines are commonly found at depth in sedimentary basins. Many of these brines are known to be connate waters that have persisted since the early Paleozoic Era. Yet questions remain about their distribution and mechanisms for retention at depth in the Earth's crust. Here we demonstrate that there is insufficient topography to drive these dense fluids from the bottom of deep sedimentary basins. Our assessment based on driving force ratio indicates that sedimentary basins with driving force ratio > 1 contain connate waters and frequently host large evaporite deposits. These stagnant conditions appear to be relatively stable over geological time and insensitive to factors such as glaciations, erosion, compaction, and hydrocarbon generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4851-4858
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2018


  • brines
  • connate water
  • sedimentary basins
  • variable density flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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