Experimental method for estimation of compaction in the Oxfordian bedded limestones of the southern Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, Southern Poland

Alicja Kochman, Jacek Matyszkiewicz


The Upper Jurassic carbonates exposed in the southern part of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland are well known for their significant facies diversity related to the presence of microbial and microbial-sponge carbonate buildups and bedded detrital limestone in between. Both the buildups and detrital limestones revealed differential susceptibility to compaction which, apart from differential subsidence of the Palaeozoic basement and synsedimentary faulting, was one of the factors controlling seafloor palaeorelief in the Late Jurassic sedimentary basin. 

The compaction of the detrital limestones has been estimated with an experimental oedometric method in which specially prepared mixtures made of ground limestones from a quarry in the village of Żary were subjected to oedometer tests. The diameters of the detrital grains and their percentages in the limestones were determined by microscopic examinations of thin sections. The diameters were assigned to predetermined classes corresponding to the Udden-Wentworth scale. The rock samples were then ground down to the grain sizes observed in thin sections. From such materials, mixtures were prepared of grain size distributions corresponding to those observed in thin sections. After adding water the mixtures were subjected to oedometer tests. 

Analysis of the compression of such mixtures under specific loads enabled preparation of a mathematical formula suitable for the estimation of mechanical compaction of the limestone. The obtained values varied from 27.52 to 55.53% for a load corresponding to 300 metres burial depth. The most significant effect of mechanical compaction was observed for loads representing only 2 metres burial depth. Further loading resulted in a much smaller reduction in sample height.

The results of the oedometer tests cannot be used directly to determine compaction of the detrital limestones. Mainly because microscopic observations of thin sections of the experimental material show that chemical compaction was also an important factor influencing thickness reduction of the limestones.


Differential compaction; Oedometer tests; Basin analysis; Microfacies; Upper Jurassic; Kraków-Częstochowa Upland

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