Spencer J. Buchanan


The foundation problems of the coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico are unique. Normally, a coastal region is thought of as the land area, such as a plain, adjacent to a body of water. Such a region usually is somewhat regular in its geology and because of the natural resources, terrain or climate may be given to a relatively common industry involving a somewhat similar development throughout. The coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico, as regards the United States, violates this criterion in a multitude of ways. The region is not limited to the coastal plain bordering the Gulf of Mexico, by any means, but, rather has been broadened by our commerce and the need for the development of natural resources to also embrace, the delta areas and offshore belt extending to the limit of the continental shelf, lying as far as 70 miles from the shore. The delta areas have long been avoided in the past by industry of all types that is, with the exception of the fishing industry, because of the unstable nature of the foundation media. Likewise the continental shelf area normally is not considered for industrial development because of the availability of the more desirable coastal plain. However, the quest for natural resources, like sulphur and petroleum, in spite of the efforts toward Federal Control, has made necessary the solution of very extraordinary foundation problems in this offshore area. In addition to the foregoing unusual aspects of the foundation problems of the Gulf Coast, the coastal plain is unusual in itself because this region at one time formed the floor of the Gulf of Mexico and, as the sea receded or the land was uplifted, the residual sedimentary soils have been drained and desiccated to result in unusual formations that serve as foundation media for the industrial and domestic developments of the region. The foregoing factors combine to make the foundation problems of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Region very interesting.


Gulf Coast geology; port design; offshore platform design

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