W. Brückmann,2 K. Moran,3 and A.K. MacKillop 4


Low-gradient flow tests and one-dimensional consolidation tests were performed on four samples from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 156, northern Barbados Ridge, Hole 949B, to provide direct as well as indirect measures of permeability and stress history. All samples tested show a significant degree of underconsolidation, with overconsolidation ratio (OCR) values decreasing with depth from 0.4 to 0.2 to 0.1. These low ratios were used to approximate the excess pore pressures within the accreted sediment and the décollement. The largest estimated excess pore-pressure values lie within the interpreted décollement zone at Site 949 and range from 1600 to 1900 kPa. Combining results from this study with previous data from Leg 110, two generalized functions of void ratio vs. hydraulic conductivity for high and low permeability sediments are developed that are characteristic for sediments of low and high smectite content. By applying these functions to the Site 671 (ODP Leg 110) porosity profile, it is possible to demonstrate the occurrence of a zone of low permeability immediately above the décollement. This is consistent with the concept that low permeability sediments will develop higher excess pore pressures, and therefore, are more susceptible to shear failure.

1 Shipley, T.H., Ogawa, Y., Blum, P., and Bahr, J.M. (Eds.), 1997. Proc. ODP, Sci. Results,156: College Station, TX (Ocean Drilling Program).
2 GEOMAR Research Center Marine Geosciences, Kiel, Federal Republic of Germany. wbrueckmann@geomar.de
3 Geological Survey of Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada.
4 Ocean Drilling Program, Texas A&M University Research Park, 1000 Discovery Drive, College Station, TX 77845-9547, U.S.A.