Abstract:

Observations on outcrop of a regionally developed sand injectite are used to infer and estimate the pore-pressure conditions in the shallow crust that caused the fluidization and injection of tens of cubic kilometres of sand. The estimated pore-fluid pressures at the base of the injection complex (at 1500 m burial depth, below a regionally developed shale-dominated seal) are from 22.26 to 25.08 MPa, which respectively correspond to 0.81 and 0.95 lithostatic pressure. A theoretical basis for prediction of sand injection is defined and applied to the prediction of pore pressure at the time of sand injection, the depth at which seal failure occurred, and the density and granular content of the fluidized flow. Lateral variations in the style and abundance of sandstone intrusions are described and these all fit into a remarkably uniform tripartite division of parent units, an intrusive complex and an extrusive complex. A sill zone (intrusions are dominated by sills) occurs in a restricted stratigraphic interval 200–270 m thick. Location of the base of the sill zone is directly related to the thickness of the overburden, and an isobaric surface at the time of sand injection, the lithostatic equilibrium surface, is defined at the base of the sill zone. When the sills formed an extended period of supra-lithostatic pressure occurred within the sill zone.

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