Various physical and chemical processes may be envisioned which will cause anomalous pressures on an underground fluid. In order to consider the maintenance of anomalous pressure, it is necessary to consider the problem as one of nonsteady fluid flow. The time rate of pressure change and maintenance depends upon the hydrodynamics of flow through porous media and the particular boundary conditions. This paper presents a series of general solutions to hydrodynamic models which are germane to the problem of creating and maintaining excess-fluid pressures in a thick sedimentary sequence.
The creation and maintenance of fluid pressures approaching lithostatic pressure through a process of continuous sedimentation was evaluated. Our results indicate that a sedimentation rate of 500 m/106 yr (reasonable for the Gulf Coast) will create fluid pressures approaching lithostatic in a sedimentary column that has a hydraulic conductivity of 10−8 cm sec−1, or lower.
It is apparent that the creation of anomalous pressure and its maintenance depends, to a large degree, upon the hydraulic conductivity and, to a lesser extent, upon the specific storage of clay layers within the system.