Concept

Overburden pressure

Summary
Pressure is force magnitude applied over an area. Overburden pressure is a geology term that denotes the pressure caused by the weight of the overlying layers of material at a specific depth under the earth's surface. Overburden pressure is also called lithostatic pressure, or vertical stress. In a stratigraphic layer that is in hydrostatic equilibrium; the overburden pressure at a depth z, assuming the magnitude of the gravity acceleration is approximately constant, is given by: P(z) = P_0 + g \int_{0}^{z} \rho(z) , dz where:
  • z is the depth in meters.
  • P(z) is the overburden pressure at depth z.
  • P_0 is the pressure at the surface.
  • \rho(z) is the density of the material above the depth z.
  • g is the gravity acceleration in m/s^2 .
In deep-earth geophysics/geodynamics, gravitational acceleration varies significantly over depth and g
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