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Bubble growth and rise in soft sediments

Record type: Article

The mechanics of uncemented soft sediments during bubble growth are not widely understood and no rheological model has found wide acceptance. We offer definitive evidence on the mode of bubble formation in the form of X-ray computed tomographic images and comparison with theory. Natural and injected bubbles in muddy cohesive sediments are shown to be highly eccentric oblate spheroids (disks) that grow either by fracturing the sediment or by reopening preexisting fractures. In contrast, bubbles in soft sandy sediment tend to be spherical, suggesting that sand acts fluidly or plastically in response to growth stresses. We also present bubble-rise results from gelatin, a mechanically similar but transparent medium, that suggest that initial rise is also accomplished by fracture. Given that muddy sediments are elastic and yield by fracture, it becomes much easier to explain physically related phenomena such as seafloor pockmark formation, animal burrowing, and gas buildup during methane hydrate melting.

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Citation

Boudreau, Bernard P., Algar, Chris, Johnson, Bruce D., Croudace, Ian, Reed, Allen, Furukawa, Yoko, Dorgan, Kelley M., Jumars, Peter A., Grader, Abraham S. and Gardiner, Bruce S. (2005) Bubble growth and rise in soft sediments Geology, 33, (6), pp. 517-520. (doi:10.1130/G21259.1).

More information

Published date: 2005
Keywords: bubbles, mud, fracture, methane

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 16338
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/16338
ISSN: 0091-7613
PURE UUID: 3dc72e53-f7c6-4d57-ab3d-1d8e49f4e659

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Jul 2005
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 16:43

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Contributors

Author: Bernard P. Boudreau
Author: Chris Algar
Author: Bruce D. Johnson
Author: Ian Croudace
Author: Allen Reed
Author: Yoko Furukawa
Author: Kelley M. Dorgan
Author: Peter A. Jumars
Author: Abraham S. Grader
Author: Bruce S. Gardiner

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