The onset of fabric development in deep marine sediments

Marco Maffione, Antony Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Post-depositional compaction is a key stage in the formation of sedimentary rocks that results in porosity reduction, grain realignment and the production of sedimentary fabrics. The progressive time-depth evolution of the onset of fabric development in deep marine sediments is poorly constrained due to the limited quantity and resolution of existing data. Here we present high-resolution anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) results from clay-rich deep marine sediments recovered at International Ocean Discovery Program Site U1438 (Philippine Sea). AMS is a petrofabric tool sensitive to the preferred orientation of grains in rocks. Down-section variations of AMS parameters, density, porosity and the inclination of magnetic remanences demonstrate that fabrics develop in response to compaction and dewatering but also that they do not develop progressively with depth below the mudline. Instead, a horizontal foliation first forms at 83 mbsf once the sediment load reaches an effective stress threshold for the onset of compaction and is then continuously enhanced down to 113 mbsf, defining a 30 m-thick ‘initial compaction window’. The magnetostratigraphic age model for IODP Site U1438 indicates a delay of 5.7 Ma in initial fabric formation following sediment deposition, with strongly defined fabrics then taking an additional 6.5 Ma to develop.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Early online date30 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2017


  • Sedimentary fabric
  • deep marine
  • compaction
  • magnetic anisotropy
  • AMS
  • International Ocean Discovery Program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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