Abstract

Sonic velocity, density, and resistivity log data from 60 wells on the Norwegian Shelf have been used to investigate velocity-depth trends in sedimentary rocks as a function of sediment composition, porosity, pore-pressure, burial-history, and compaction processes. A first-order linear velocity-depth trend line has been estimated from published velocity data. The data analyzed in this study, however, show significant variations from this trend line, indicating that no general velocity-depth function can be used when performing more accurate analyses like depth conversion of seismic data, pore-pressure prediction, or basin modeling. Lower Tertiary smectitic sediments from the northern North Sea and Haltenbanken are characterized by relatively low velocities compared to the overlying Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments, causing a distinct velocity inversion. A significant velocity increase at a burial depth corresponding to 70–100°C was found and may reflect the alteration of smectite to illite and the initial precipitation of quartz cement in both sandstones and shales. Overpressured Jurassic sediments from Haltenbanken have lower velocities than equivalent hydrostatically pressured sequences but no significant porosity difference. The reduced velocities may be a direct response to lower effective stresses and, thus, reduced elastic compaction. Low velocities in source rocks are mainly attributed to the relatively soft kerogen and resulting velocity anisotropy. The high velocity/depth ratio of Barents Sea sediments (after correcting for Tertiary exhumation) is explained by the burial history of the area, the subsequent thermal exposure of the sediments over time, and thus, the amount of quartz cementation.

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