Coring tools have an effect on lithification and physical properties of marine carbonate sediments

De Vleeschouwer D, Nohl T, Schulbert C, M. Bialik O, Auer G (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Book Volume: 32

Pages Range: 43-54

DOI: 10.5194/sd-32-43-2023

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The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) JOIDES Resolution Science Operator typically uses an advanced piston corer (APC) in soft ooze and sediments and an extended core barrel (XCB) in firm sediments. The coring tool exchange typically occurs around the same depth in adjacent holes of the same site. However, during IODP Expedition 356, the coring tool switch occurred at different depths: IODP Sites U1463 and U1464 are marked by a stratigraphic interval (> 25 m thick) that was XCB cored in one hole and APC cored in other holes. Shipboard scientists remarked that APC-cored sediments were unlithified or partially lithified, while XCB-cored sediments were fully lithified. This difference in sedimentological description of the same formation seems to be an effect of coring technique. To provide further insight, we assessed the physical properties (bulk density, porosity, and P-wave velocity), downhole wireline logging data, scanning electron microscope (SEM) images, and micro-computed tomography (µCT) scans of those intervals.

We find systematic differences between the different coring techniques. XCB cores are characterized by systematically lower bulk density, higher porosity, and higher P-wave velocity than APC cores. Downhole logging data suggest that the original P-wave velocity of the formation is better preserved in XCB cores, despite the typical “biscuit-and-gravy” core disturbance (i.e. well-preserved core fragments surrounded by squelched core material). In conjunction with SEM and µCT images, we conclude that the APC tool destroyed early lithification by breaking cements between individual grains. Moreover, µCT images reveal denser packing and smaller pore volumes in the APC cores. These sedimentary changes likely occur when the APC pressure wave passes through the sediment. The destruction of grain-to-grain cements provides an explanation for the significantly lower P-wave velocities in APC cores. Interestingly, the gravy sections in XCB drilled cores mimic the destruction of early lithification and reduction of pore volume. We conclude that APC remains the tool of choice for recovering soft sediments, especially for paleoclimate purposes. However, for the study of lithification, XCB biscuits provide a more representative image of the formation. For the study of early diagenesis, further studies are required to ascertain the preservation of key sedimentary features using existing and new drilling tools.

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De Vleeschouwer, D., Nohl, T., Schulbert, C., M. Bialik, O., & Auer, G. (2023). Coring tools have an effect on lithification and physical properties of marine carbonate sediments. Scientific Drilling , 32, 43-54.


De Vleeschouwer, David, et al. "Coring tools have an effect on lithification and physical properties of marine carbonate sediments." Scientific Drilling 32 (2023): 43-54.

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