Marine Geomechanics: Overview and Projections

  • Armand J. Silva
Part of the Marine Science book series (MR, volume 2)


Until recently, most geotechnical studies of deep-sea sediments have been necessarily concerned with the upper few meters, and comprehensive studies aimed at determining basic stress-strain parameters in relation to sediment processes are scarce. There are important differences between some deep-sea sediments and most finegrained terrestrial soils including compositional differences and differences due to rate of deposition, pressure, and temperature. Some diagenetic processes are reviewed along with a brief discussion of the factors which affect microstructure. Detailed studies of sediment microstructure coupled with geochemical and engineering studies may yield valuable insight into the basic mechanisms involved in sediment diagenesis as well as stress-strain behavior.

Simple strength measurement systems such as vane shear and cone penetrometer can only be viewed as indicators of gross strength properties. The Mohr-Coulomb theory used in conjunction with triaxial methods of testing gives satisfactory results for engineering applications. In order to study basic stress-strain behavior, it is recommended that a more sophisticated yield theory, such as is embodied in the critical state method, and appropriate compatible testing procedures be used to develop predictive mathematical models of sediment behavior.

Compressibility of fine-grained sediments is reviewed with particular attention directed to secondary compression effects. Delayed compression under constant effective stress will contribute to a build-up of residual strength which results in pseudo-overconsolidation effect, and the secondary compression may continue for hundreds of years. The results of consolidation tests can aid in interpreting geological sea-floor processes involving deposition, erosion, slumping, etc. A procedure to determine a disturbance index is proposed to quantify sample disturbance effects.

The author’s experiences with a large diameter long piston corer are reviewed. Data include properties of two long cores (up to 22 m) and some correlations with acoustic reflectors.


Shear Strength Void Ratio Geotechnical Property Triaxial Compression Test Ocean Sediment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armand J. Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Worcester Polytechnic InstituteUSA

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