Three-dimensional velocity models for the basins along the coast of Washington and in Puget Lowland provide a means for better understanding the lateral variations in strong ground motions recorded there. We have compiled 16 sonic and 18 density logs from 22 oil test wells to help us determine the geometry and physical properties of the Cenozoic basins along coastal Washington. The depth ranges sampled by the test-well logs fall between 0.3 and 2.1 km. These well logs sample Quaternary to middle Eocene sedimentary rocks of the Quinault Formation, Montesano Formation, and Hoh rock assemblage. Most (18 or 82%) of the wells are from Grays Harbor County, and many of these are from the Ocean City area. These Grays Harbor County wells sample the Quinault Formation, Montesano Formation, and frequently bottom in the Hoh rock assemblage. These wells show that the sonic velocity and density normally increase significantly across the contacts between the Quinault or the Montesano Formations and the Hoh rock assemblage. Reflection coefficients calculated for vertically traveling compressional waves from the average velocities and densities for these units suggest that the top of the Hoh rock assemblage is a strong reflector of downward-propagating seismic waves: these reflection coefficients lie between 11 and 20%. Thus, this boundary may reflect seismic energy upward and trap a substantial portion of the seismic energy generated by future earthquakes within the Miocene and younger sedimentary basins found along the Washington coast.
Three wells from Jefferson County provide data for the Hoh rock assemblage for the entire length of the logs. One well (Eastern Petroleum Sniffer Forks #1), from the Forks area in Clallam County, also exclusively samples the Hoh rock assemblage. This report presents the locations, elevations, depths, stratigraphic, and other information for all the oil test wells, and provides plots showing the density and sonic velocities as a function of depth for each well log. We also present two-way traveltimes for 15 of the wells calculated from the sonic velocities. Average velocities and densities for the wells having both logs can be reasonably well related using a modified Gardner’s rule, with p=1825v1/4, where p is the density (in kg/m3) and v is the sonic velocity (in km/s). In contrast, a similar analysis of published well logs from Puget Lowland is best matched by a Gardner’s rule of p=1730v1/4, close to the p=1740v1/4 proposed by Gardner et al. (1974).
Finally, we present laboratory measurements of compressional-wave velocity, shear-wave velocity, and density for 11 greywackes and 29 mafic rocks from the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Lowland. These units have significance for earthquake-hazard investigations in Puget Lowland as they dip eastward beneath the Lowland, forming the “bedrock” beneath much of the lowland. Average Vp/Vs ratios for the mafic rocks, mainly Crescent Formation volcanics, lie between 1.81 and 1.86. Average Vp/Vs ratios for the greywackes from the accretionary core complex in the Olympic Peninsula show greater scatter but lie between 1.77 and 1.88. Both the Olympic Peninsula mafic rocks and greywackes have lower shear-wave velocities than would be expected for a Poisson solid (Vp/Vs=1.732). Although the P-wave velocities and densities in the greywackes can be related by a Gardner’s rule of p=1720v1/4, close to the p=1740v1/4 proposed by Gardner et al. (1974), the velocities and densities of the mafic rocks are best related by a Gardner’s rule of p=1840v1/4. Thus, the density/velocity relations are similar for the Puget Lowland well logs and greywackes from the Olympic Peninsula. Density/velocity relations are similar for the Washington coastal well logs and mafic rocks from the Olympic Peninsula, but differ from those of the Puget Lowland well logs and greywackes from the Olympic Peninsula.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Density and velocity relationships for digital sonic and density logs from coastal Washington and laboratory measurements of Olympic Peninsula mafic rocks and greywackes