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Porosity Reduction in Monterey Formation, California

John S. Compton

Porosity and grain density were determined for different lithologies from throughout a 1.2-km thick section of the Monterey and Sisquoc formations in the Santa Maria basin area, California. Porosity reduction by physical and chemical compaction in the predominantly siliceous sediment is controlled largely by the bulk sediment composition and silica phase transformations. Physical compaction of sediment grains from increasing overburden pressure is responsible for most of the gradual porosity reduction with increasing burial depth in opal-A siliceous ooze and diatomite. The porous, incompressible diatom frustule maintains a high porosity relative to clayey and calcareous sediment. Therefore, a positive correlation exists between porosity and biogenic silica (diatom) content of the sediment. During the opal-A to opal-CT silica phase transformation, solution of the porous diatom frustule and precipitation of cryptocrystalline opal-CT results in a porosity reduction that roughly correlates with t e biogenic silica content of the sediment. Local porosity reduction occurs in pore-filling dolomite and chert nodules. Dry bulk density as well as porosity reduction tend to increase with sediment depth. Dolomite and organic matter have the most significant influence on the bulk density because of their respective high and low density. The maximum burial depth of the uplifted and eroded section is estimated by overlapping the porosity-depth relation of average deep-sea siliceous ooze.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.