Offshore Technology Research Center


Abstract ID# :


Report Title:

Shear Strength Maps of Shallow Sediments in the Gulf of Mexico


Leigh Holcombe, Wayne Dunlap, Offshore Technology Research Center; Troy Holcombe, Texas A&M University

Report Date:

December, 2004

In 1979, McClelland Engineers, Inc., a Houston, TX-based geotechnical engineering firm, released a series of maps portraying shear strength of sediments in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) (Parker, et al., 1979). These maps, which provided shear strength contours at various depths below the mudline, covered the GOM from High Island area east to Main Pass area (the Central GOM). Although the primary use of the maps was deep foundation design, they did provide data at, and 10 ft. below, the mudline. McClelland cited uses of this shallow information for pipeline routing and jackup rig footing stability. Minerals Management Service (MMS) personnel have used the maps to evaluate pipeline stability, especially the potential for self-burial in soft sediments.

Since the maps were published, several major storms have pushed through the area of interest (National Weather Service, 2004) that may have influenced sediment strength by erosion, deposition or sediment mixing. As a result, MMS personnel believe the older maps need to be updated, especially in areas affected by strong storms. The Offshore Technology Research Center (OTRC) was funded by MMS to produce new shear strength maps for the Central and Western GOM.

Fully editable versions of the maps are available in ARC-GIS and Adobe Illustrator Format. A read only version is available as an Adobe PDF document. Please indicate which version of the final report and maps you are requesting.

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