Numerical modelling of reverse-density structures in soft non-Newtonian sediments
Published:January 01, 2003
Philip Harrison, Alex J. Maltman, 2003. "Numerical modelling of reverse-density structures in soft non-Newtonian sediments", Subsurface Sediment Mobilization, P. Van Rensbergen, R. R. Hillis, A. J. Maltman, C. K. Morley
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A numerical code has been used to simulate the flow patterns in geological soft sediments that are driven by buoyancy forces resulting from reverse-density stratification. The aim was to provide a clearer understanding of the different roles of initiating conditions, inertia and rheological behaviour on the morphologies and timing of formation of natural features such as load casts and flame structures. Particular attention was paid to the cuspate form of rising intrusions that is commonly seen in nature but that has proved elusive in most earlier experiments. The numerical results demonstrate that large localised initiating perturbations and inertial influence during flow both tend to cause a decrease in the wavelength of the resulting flow pattern and can, under certain circumstances, serve to promote a cuspate morphology. The use of a relatively low viscosity Newtonian fluid as an approximation of the coarse-grained upper layer coupled with, critically, power-law behaviour in the underlying clayey layer was also found to promote a cuspate form in the rising intrusion.
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Subsurface Sediment Mobilization
Sedimentary facies in the subsurface are usually interpreted from a epositional/stratigraphical perspective: the depositional layering is generally considered to remain undisturbed, except in a few settings. But, there is growing evidence that subsurface sediment mobilization (SSM) is more widespread than previously thought, as new observations arise from the ever-increasing resolution of subsurface data. Many examples are from hydrocarbon provinces but studies elsewhere, for example in preparation for the underground storage of hazardous waste, have yielded unexpected examples. Although until now the different aspects of SSM, including soft sediment deformations, sand injections, shale diapirs, mud volcanoes, etc, have been separated, the new discoveries emphasize their inter-connection, regardless of scale, depth, location, grain size or trigger mechanism. This volume integrates the different aspects of sediment mobilization in the subsurface and their structural consequences, allowing a more generaland a more coherent view of the subject.