Unconsolidated muds from the Nankai Trough


  1. Unconsolidated muds from the Nankai Trough>
    . A method for estimating microporosity of fine-grained sediments and sedimentary rocks via scanning electron microscope image analysis. Sedimentology. .

    Abstract — This study presents a method of two-dimensional scanning electron microscope image analysis that directly quantifies microporosity abundance in clay-rich, fine-grained sediments. The method is novel in that it is specifically designed to circumvent the challenge to porosity quantification posed by mineral surface charging and topographical artifacts created during Ar-ion cross-section polishing. It utilizes the finding that differences in circularity values can be used to distinguish micropores from blemishes in a thresholded image. This method is powerful because it is fast and provides a direct microporosity estimation technique to augment or replace experimental data. The pore size range to which the method is applicable is clear and can be selected depending on the application of the analysis. When used appropriately, the method can be implemented on microporous sediments and sedimentary rock in general. The method is developed using marine muds of Pliocene and Miocene ages from the Nankai margin (burial depths from approximately 200 to 1100 m). The close match between imaging-derived microporosity and bulk N2 microporosity measurements shows that porosity in these young and relatively shallowly buried sediments is dominated by pores of sizes that can be imaged by scanning electron microscopy. In Kumano, forearc basin sediments of the Nankai Trough, results of this method show a significant increase in microporosity with burial depth, probably due to microporosity preservation during compaction and possibly early volcanic ash diagenesis.

  2. Unconsolidated muds from the Nankai Trough>
    . Multiple causes of diagenetic fabric anisotropy in weakly consolidated mud, Nankai accretionary prism, IODP Expedition 316. Journal of Structural Geology . .
    • doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2010.03.008

    Abstract — In the Nankai accretionary prism and its associated slope sediments early (pre-lithification) mechanical modification of mud induces preferred alignments of elongate or platy particles and the loss of intergranular porosity. Generic types of particle alignment include: 1. particles having long axes aligned in the plane of bedding, most likely as a consequence of burial compaction; 2. diverse bioturbation structures including alignments parallel to burrow walls, burrows filled with obliquely aligned phyllosilicates, and blotchy disruption of bedding; and, 3. planar deformation bands showing parallel alignments of both silt- and clay-size particles. Subtle compositional contrast between deformation bands and host rocks is consistent with loss of intergranular micropores within bands and supports the dominance of mechanical over chemical processes in their formation. Field-emission SEM imaging of Ar-ion-milled cross-sections shows that collapse of larger (>2 μm) pores, many localized at the margins of silt-size particles, reduces porosity within the bands by about 5 percent compared to the adjacent host rock. Despite the clear role of shear, evidence for particle comminution is equivocal. These observations on mechanical processes in early diagenesis provide useful context for interpretation of pore types and fabric anisotropies in mudrocks across a wide range of subsurface conditions.