In clay-rich sediment, microstructures and macrostructures influence how sediments deform when under stress. When lithology is fairly constant, anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) can be a simple technique for measuring the relative consolidation state of sediment, which reflects the sediment burial history. AMS can reveal areas of high water content and apparent overconsolidation associated with unconformities where sediment overburden has been removed. Many other methods for testing consolidation and water content are destructive and invasive, whereas AMS provides a nondestructive means to focus on areas for additional geotechnical study. In zones where the magnetic minerals are undergoing diagenesis, AMS should not be used for detecting compaction state. By utilizing AMS in the Santa Barbara Basin, we were able to identify one clear unconformity and eight zones of high water content in three cores. With the addition of susceptibility, anhysteretic remanent magnetization, and isothermal remanent magnetization rock magnetic techniques, we excluded 3 out of 11 zones from being compaction disequilibria. The AMS signals for these three zones are the result of diagenesis, coring deformation, and burrows. In addition, using AMS eigenvectors, we are able to accurately show the direction of maximum compression for the accumulation zone of the Gaviota Slide.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems


7, Issue 11



Publisher Place

Washington DC, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article


Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union