Physical property measurements and consolidation behavior are different between sediments from Atwater Valley and Keathley Canyon in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Void ratio and bulk density of Atwater Valley sediment from a seafloor mound (holes ATM1 and ATM2) show little effective stress (or depth) dependence to 27 meters below seafloor (mbsf), perhaps owing to fluidized transport through the mound itself with subsequent settling onto the seafloor or mound flanks. Off-mound sediments (hole AT13-2) have bulk physical properties that are similar to mound sediments above 27 mbsf, but void ratio and porosity decrease below that depth. Properties of shallow (<50 mbsf) Keathley Canyon sediments (KC151-3) change with increasing effective stress (or depth) compared to Atwater Valley, but vary little below that depth. Organic carbon is present in concentrations between typical near-shore and deep-sea sediments. Organic carbon-to-nitrogen ratios suggest that the organic matter contained in Atwater Valley off-mound and mound sites came from somewhat different sources. The difference in organic carbon-to-nitrogen ratios between Atwater Valley and Keathley Canyon is more pronounced. At Keathley Canyon a more terrigenous source of the organic matter is indicated. Grain sizes are typically silty clay or clay within the two basins reflecting similar transport energy. However, the range in most shallow sediment properties is significantly different between the two basins. Bulk density profiles agree with logging results in Atwater Valley and Keathley Canyon. Agreement between lab-derived and logging-derived properties supports using logging data to constrain bulk physical properties where cores were not collected.
Additional publication details
Physical properties of sediments from Keathley Canyon and Atwater Valley, JIP Gulf of Mexico gas hydrate drilling program