Comparative study of sand porosity and a technique for determining porosity of undisturbed marine sediment

CW Curry
RH Bennett
MH Hulbert
Kenneth J. Curry, University of Southern Mississippi


Porosity is a fundamental property of marine sediment from which wet bulk density can be easily determined and used in a variety of geoacoustic, geotechnical, and sedimentological studies, analyses, and models. However, methods of sampling marine sands suffer from the common problem of core disturbance making the in situ porosity difficult to obtain. Embedding the sediment within an epoxy resin matrix will minimize the disturbance to the microfabric and preserve the in situ sedimentary structure for subsequent study. Image analysis can then be used on thin sections to study the microfabric and porometry. A comprehensive review and analysis of published data on the porosity of predominantly clean sands has been completed and a simple, accurate, and nondestructive technique is described for preparing and measuring the porosity of marine sediment (siliciclastic sand) that has been infiltrated aboard ship immediately upon sample collection and chemically fixed and infiltrated with epoxy shortly thereafter. The average porosity of 36 samples of marine sand collected offshore Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and embedded with resin was determined to be 41.30%. From the review of published data the average porosity of sand was determined to be 37.7%, 42.3%, and 46.3% for packed, natural (in situ), and loose packing conditions, respectively, for a range of sorting coefficients and grain sizes.