Sharp permeability transitions due to shallow diagenesis of subduction zone sediments

Author(s): James, S.; Screaton, E.
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of Florida, Department of Geological Sciences, Gainesville, FL, United States
Volume Title: AGU 2013 fall meeting
Source: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Vol.2013; American Geophysical Union 2013 fall meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 9-13, 2013. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States
Note: In English
Summary: The permeability of hemipelagic sediments is an important factor in fluid flow in subduction zones and can be affected by porosity changes and cementation-dissolution processes acting during diagenesis. Anomalously high porosities have been observed in cores from the Shikoku Basin sediments approaching the Nankai Trough subduction zone. These high porosities have been attributed to the presence of minor amounts of amorphous silica cement that strengthen the sediment and inhibit consolidation. The porosity rapidly drops from 66-68% to 54-56% at a diagenetic boundary where the amorphous silica cement dissolves. Although the anomalous porosity profiles at Nankai have received attention, the magnitude of the corresponding permeability change has not been addressed. In this study, permeability profiles were constructed using permeability-porosity relationships from previous studies, to estimate the magnitude and rate of permeability changes with depth. The predicted permeability profiles for the Nankai Trough sediment cores indicate that permeability drops by almost one order of magnitude across the diagenetic boundary. This abrupt drop in permeability has the potential to facilitate significant changes in pore fluid pressures and thus to influence the deformation of the sediment onto the accretionary prism. At the Costa Rica subduction zone, results vary with location. Site U1414 offshore the Osa Peninsula shows porosities stable at 69% above 145 mbsf and then decrease to 54% over a 40 m interval. A porosity drop of that magnitude is predicted to correlate to an order of magnitude permeability decrease. In contrast, porosity profiles from Site 1039 offshore the Nicoya Peninsula and Site U1381 offshore the Osa Peninsula show anomalously high porosities but no sharp drop. It is likely that sediments do not cross the diagenetic boundary due to the extremely low (<10°C/km) thermal gradient at Site 1039 and the thin (<100 m) sediment cover at Site U1381. At these locations, the porosity loss and permeability reduction may occur after the sediment is subducted and contribute to high pore pressures at the plate boundary.
Year of Publication: 2013
Research Program: IODP Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 07 Marine Geology and Oceanography; Costa Rica Seismogenesis Project; East Pacific; Expedition 344; IODP Site U1381; IODP Site U1414; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program; Leg 170; North Pacific; Northeast Pacific; ODP Site 1039; Ocean Drilling Program; Pacific Ocean
Coordinates: N082543 N082543 W0840928 W0840929
N093823 N093823 W0861200 W0861200
N083014 N083014 W0841332 W0841332
Record ID: 2015031179
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