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Loading and unloading of sedimentary basins: The effect of rheological hysteresis

By A. C. Fowler and Xin-she Yang


[1] We present a model for the study of the effect of rheological hysteresis on compaction in sedimentary basins, when surface loading and unloading occurs. When compaction is slow (sedimentation rate is large and/or permeability is small), the hysteresis has little effect on the basal compaction layer, but in the more realistic case where compaction is fast (i.e., sedimentation is slow and/or permeability is large), surface unloading leads to downward propagation of a decompaction front, across which the vertical porosity gradient jumps, while subsequent surface reloading leads to downward propagation of a discontinuity in porosity, despite the fact that the porosity is governed by a diffusive equation of Richards type. INDEX TERMS: 3022 Marine Geology and Geophysics

Topics: Marine sediments–processes and transport, 3210 Mathematical Geophysics, Modeling, 8105 Tectonophysics, Continental margins and sedimentary basins, KEYWORDS, Compaction, sedimentary
Year: 2011
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