Abstract

Artificial compaction of in-situ cores of sediments resulted in: 1) reduction of sediment thickness by 50 percent and more; 2) reduction of initial porosities of 65 to 75 percent to 35 to 45 percent; 3) creation of megascopic textures almost identical to many ancient lime mud- and wackestone; 4) creation of organic, wispy "stylolite-like" layers; 5) chemical compaction, evidenced by thin sections showing quartz grains piercing mollusc shells without causing fractures and SEM evidence of solutional interfitting of 1 to 4-mu m-size aragonitic carbonate grains; 6) obliteration of pellets and birdseye or fenestral voids in those sediments where early cementation was lacking; obliteration of identifiable marine grasses and vertical "root" tube voids; 8) mashing of sediment-filled circular burrows to produce ellipsoidal structures. Significant mechanical compaction resulted from pressures simulating less than 1,000 ft of burial. Increasing loads to more than 10,000 ft did not significantly increase compaction. Chemical compaction was detected only in cores compacted to pressures greater than 10,000 ft of burial. These experiments suggest that chemical compaction would begin at much shallower depths given geologic time. Experiments that caused chemical compaction lend support to the hypothesis that cement required to produce a low-porosity/low-permeability fine-grained limestone is derived internally. Dissolution, ion diffusion, and reprecipitation are the most likely processes for creating significant thicknesses of dense limestones. Continuation of chemical compaction after significant porosity reduction necessitates expulsion of connate fluids, possibly including hydrocarbons.--Modified journal abstract.

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