Overpressure and consolidation near the seafloor of Brazos‐Trinity Basin IV, northwest deepwater Gulf of Mexico Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • [1] Pore water overpressures (u*) within mudstones beneath Brazos-Trinity Basin IV (deepwater Gulf of Mexico, offshore Texas) are greater than 70% of the hydrostatic vertical effective stress (σ′ vh) [λ* = 0.7 = (μ*/ σ′vh)]. These results are compatible with recent observations that suggest sedimentation rates in this region are rapid (6 mm/a). We compare the petrophysical properties and pore pressures within a 127-m-thick package of mudstone penetrated at two locations: Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) sites U1319 and U1320. Site U1319 is at the margin of Brazos-Trinity Basin IV, whereas Site U1320 lies at its center, beneath 180 m of turbidite fill. Experimentally derived preconsolidation stresses and an in situ pore pressure measurement record overpressure at Site U1319 and Site U1320 (λ* ∼ 0.2 to 0.8 and λ* ∼ 0.8, respectively). We use these data to define an average vertical effective stress gradient. Assuming that void ratio (e) is proportional to the log of vertical effective stress (σ′v), we predict pore pressures (u) throughout the mudstone at both sites using bulk density data. Overpressures are greater at Site U1320 due to rapid deposition of the overlying turbidites. However, a large fraction of the overpressure induced by the turbidite load applied at Site U1320 has dissipated by drainage into the overlying basin fill. High overpressures near the seafloor drive shallow fluid flow, reduce slope stability, and may explain large submarine landslides. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

author list (cited authors)

  • Schneider, J., Flemings, P. B., Dugan, B., Long, H., & Germaine, J. T.

citation count

  • 18

publication date

  • May 2009