Offshore Technology Research Center


OTRC Project Summary

Project Title:

Classification of Surfical Sediments: Northern-Central and Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Prinicipal Investigators:

William Bryant


OTRC Industry Consortium

Completion Date:

December, 2003

Final Report ID#

A169(Click to view final report abstract)


To determine the spatial distribution of geotechnical and geophysical properties of the surficial marine sediments of the Northwestern Slope Region, Gulf of Mexico.


A total of 190 piston cores (120 which are on hand and 70 that were recovered during December 2001) have been or will be analyzed at 4-cm intervals for the following geotechnical properties: bulk density, water content, porosity, void ratio, liquid and plastic limits, compressional wave velocity, and acoustic impedance.

Shear strength will be determined at 20-cm intervals. Select cores will be split, described in detail, and photographed.

The majority of the core sites have been or will be surveyed with a "CHIRP" high-resolution geophysical subbottom-profiler. The correlation of geotechnical properties to high-resolution seismic records of the areas where sediment cores were taken will aid in: (1) the description of basic sediment morphologic features, (2) indicating depositional histories, (3) identifying lithostratigraphic and geotechnical stratigraphic units 1 to 3 meters below the seafloor, and (4) mapping sediment horizons and stratigraphic units from region to region. The goal is to concretely illustrate where problematic sediments exist, suggest how they may have formed, and what hazards they might pose to seafloor structures.


This research will result in a Master of Science thesis for Mr. William Cain, a graduate student in the Department of Oceanography. The results will also be distributed in a report and a compiled data CD. We hope to put the data in a GIS format.


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