Abstract

Compressional-wave (sonic) and density logs from 119 oil test wells provide knowledge of the physical properties and impedance contrasts within urban sedimentary basins in northern California, which is needed to better understand basin amplification. These wire-line logs provide estimates of sonic velocities and densities for primarily Upper Cretaceous to Pliocene clastic rocks between 0.1- and 5.6-km depth to an average depth of 1.8 km. Regional differences in the sonic velocities and densities in these basins largely 1reflect variations in the lithology, depth of burial, porosity, and grain size of the strata, but not necessarily formation age. For example, Miocene basin filling strata west of the Calaveras Fault exhibit higher sonic velocities and densities than older but finer-grained and/or higher-porosity rocks of the Upper Cretaceous Great Valley Sequence. As another example, hard Eocene sandstones west of the San Andreas Fault have much higher impedances than Eocene strata, mainly higher-porosity sandstones and shales, located to the east of this fault, and approach those expected for Franciscan Complex basement rocks. Basement penetrations define large impedence contrasts at the sediment/basement contact along the margins of several basins, where Quaternary, Pliocene, and even Miocene deposits directly overlie Franciscan or Salinian basement rocks at depths as much as 1.7 km. In contrast, in the deepest, geographic centers of the basins, such logs exhibit only a modest impedance contrast at the sediment/basement contact at depths exceeding 2 km. Prominent (up to 1 km/sec) and thick (up to several hundred meters) velocity and density reversals in the logs refute the common assumption that velocities and densities increase monotonically with depth.

Online material: Borehole log regression parameters and metadata.

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