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Geologic Processes and Sea Floor Stability, Continental Shelf and Slope, Northwest Gulf of Mexico: A Systematic Approach to Identifying Geohazards

By
Henry L. Berryhill, Jr.
Henry L. Berryhill, Jr.
U.S. Geological Survey
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Published:
January 01, 1981

Abstract

In an engineering sense, the geologic aspects of the sea floor are hazardous to man's activities when and where structures cannot be designed to withstand the combined stresses of the marine environment. In the most basic sense, geologic “hazards” relate directly to sea-floor stability, or the potential of the sea floor for significant movement that would be damaging to man-made structures placed on the sea floor. Judging the potential for movement requires descriptive details about the geologic conditions plus a quantitative understanding of the geologic and related oceanographic processes that are operative in the region on both periodic and long-term bases. Recognition and quantification of the geologic processes and their implications regarding potential hazards must stem from an understanding of the geologic history of the area in the recent past, which requires determining the relative rates and interactions of the two processes, sedimentation and tectonism, through time.

In an empirical sense certain features on the surface of the sea floor suggest unstable conditions: irregular or hummocky topography caused by the sliding or slumping of surficial sediments and diapiric movement, and offsets of the sea-floor surface caused by vertical slippage or faulting. The movements that created such features were a response or readjustment to some type of instability; the factors that caused the instability may have been localized or they may have been regional in scope. Furthermore, the movements indicated by the observed features may have been a one-time event that reestablished equilibrium for a long time to come, or they

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AAPG Continuing Education Course Notes Series

Offshore Geologic Hazards: A Short Course Presented at Rice University, May 2-3, 1981 for the Offshore Technology Conference

Arnold Bouma
Arnold Bouma
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Dwight Sangrey
Dwight Sangrey
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James Coleman
James Coleman
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David Prior
David Prior
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Anita Trippet
Anita Trippet
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Wayne Dunlap
Wayne Dunlap
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James Hooper
James Hooper
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
18
ISBN electronic:
9781629812618
Publication date:
January 01, 1981

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