Porosity and sonic velocity depth trends of Eocene chalk in Atlantic Ocean: Influence of effective stress and temperature

Ahmed Awedalkarim, Ida Lykke Fabricius

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We aimed to relate changes in porosity and sonic velocity data, measured on water-saturated Eocene chalks from 36 Ocean Drilling Program drill sites in the Atlantic Ocean, to vertical effective stress and thermal maturity. We considered only chalk of Eocene age to avoid possible influence of geological age on chalk compaction trends. For each depth, vertical effective stresses as defined by Terzaghi and by Biot were calculated. We used bottom-hole temperature data to calculate the time–temperature index of thermal maturity (TTI) as defined by Lopatin. Porosity and compressional wave velocity data were correlated to vertical effective stresses and to TTI.Our porosity data showed a broader porosity trend in the mechanical compaction zone, and the onset of the formation of limestone at a shallower burial depth than the porosity data of the Ontong Java Plateau chalk show. Our porosity data do not show or at least it is difficult to define a clear pore-stiffening contact cementation trend as the Ontong Java Plateau chalk. Mechanical compaction is the principal cause of porosity reduction (at shallow depths) in the studied Eocene chalk, at least down to about 5MPa Terzaghi׳s effective stress corresponding to a porosity of about 35%. This indicates that mechanical compaction is the principal agent of porosity reduction. Conversely, at deeper levels, porosity reduction is accompanied by a large increase in sonic velocity indicating pore-filling cementation. These deep changes are correlated with TTI. This indicates pore-filling cementation via an activation energy mechanism. We proposed a predictive equation for porosity reduction with burial stress. This equation is relevant for basin analysis and hydrocarbon exploration to predict porosity if sonic velocity data for subsurface chalk is available.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Pages (from-to)216-229
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • porosity
  • sonic velocity
  • thermal maturity
  • compaction
  • effective stress
  • chalk
  • ODP

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