Differential pressure affects elastic velocities and Poisson?s ratio of sediments in such a way that velocities increase as differential pressure increases. Overpressured zones in sediments can be detected by observing an increase in Poisson?s ratio with a corresponding drop in elastic velocities. In highly overpressured sands, such as shallow water flow sands, the P-to S-wave velocity ratio (Vp/Vs) is very high, on the order of 10 or higher, due to the unconsolidated and uncemented nature of sediments. In order to predict elastic characteristics of highly overpressured sands, Biot-Gassmann theory by Lee (BGTL) is used with a variable exponent n that depends on differential pressure and the degree of consolidation/compaction. The exponent n decreases as differential pressure and the degree of consolidation increases, and, as n decreases, velocity increases and Vp/Vs decreases. The predicted velocity ratio by BGTL agrees well with the measured velocity ratio at low differential pressure for unconsolidated sediments.
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USGS Numbered Series
Elastic properties of overpressured and unconsolidated sediments