Volume 42 Issue 5
May  2023
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Jie Liu, Lejun Liu, Ping Li. Physical-mechanical properties of sediments and their correlation with near seafloor seismic amplitude in the Liwan canyon area, northern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2023, 42(5): 130-138. doi: 10.1007/s13131-022-2070-9
Citation: Jie Liu, Lejun Liu, Ping Li. Physical-mechanical properties of sediments and their correlation with near seafloor seismic amplitude in the Liwan canyon area, northern South China Sea[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2023, 42(5): 130-138. doi: 10.1007/s13131-022-2070-9

Physical-mechanical properties of sediments and their correlation with near seafloor seismic amplitude in the Liwan canyon area, northern South China Sea

doi: 10.1007/s13131-022-2070-9
Funds:  The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract No. 41706065; the Basic Scientific Fund for National Public Research Institutes of China under contract No. 2015G08; the NSFC-Shandong Joint Fund for Marine Science Research Centers of China under contract No. U1606401; the National Program on Global Change and Air-sea Interaction of China under contract No. GASI-GEOGE-05.
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  • Before the implementation of offshore oil and gas exploitation, it is essential to understand the various factors that influence the stability of submarine sediments surrounding the project. Considering the factors such as cost and operability, it is not feasible to assess the physical-mechanical properties of sediments covering the entire region by borehole sampling. In this study, the correlation between near seafloor seismic amplitude and the mean shear strength of shallow sediments was explored using seismic and core testing data from the northern continental slope area of the South China Sea. Results showed that the mean water content of sediments in the layer up to 12 m below the seafloor (mbsf) gradually increased with increasing water depth, and the mean shear strength tended to decrease rapidly near the 1 000 m depth contour. The near seafloor seismic amplitude could reflect the mean shear strength of sediments in the 12 mbsf layer under seismic frequency of 65 Hz and wave velocity of 1 600 m/s. When the mean shear strength was greater than 10 kPa or the water depth was less than 1 000 m, there was a significant linear positive correlation between mean shear strength and near seafloor seismic amplitude. Otherwise, there was a significant linear negative correlation between mean shear strength and near seafloor seismic amplitude. On the basis of these correlations, the pattern of shear strength was estimated from near seafloor seismic amplitude and mapped. The mean shear strength of sediments above 12 mbsf gradually decreased with increasing water depth in the continental slope area, whereas little change occurred in the continental shelf and the end of the canyon. Within the canyon area, the mean shear strength of sediments was characterized by larger values in both sides of the canyon walls and smaller values in the canyon bottom, which was consistent with the infinite slope stability theory. The study provides a method for using near seafloor seismic amplitude data to guide sediment sampling design, and presents a continuous dataset of sediment strength for the simulation of regional sediment stability.
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