Abstract

Pressure transition zones occur where the rate of pressure increase or decrease exceeds a fluid gradient. Transition zones are found between intervals of permeable rock and, in each case, fluid movement is impeded by a 'seal', which acts as a temporary barrier over geological time. The composite profile of pressure vs. depth is a function of three phenomena: (1) the mechanism responsible for abnormal pressure, (2) redistribution of pressure due to fluid movement during and after the mechanism is occurring, and (3) the lithological profile of the rock succession. Pressure profiles in some overpressured systems can reveal which of the mechanisms is causing the overpressure. Once overpressure has been created, pressure decay and transference away from the interval of generation can strongly influence the nature of transition zones. Transition zones are controlled in a fundamental way by the permeability of the rocks in which the abnormal pressure is found.

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