Resistivity at the bit tools typically provide images of wellbore breakouts only a few minutes after the hole is drilled. In certain cases images are taken tens of minutes to days after drilling of the borehole. The sonic caliper can also image borehole geometry. We present four examples comparing imaging a few minutes after drilling to imaging from about 30 min to 3 days after drilling. In all cases the borehole breakouts widen with time. The tendency to widen with time is most pronounced within a few hundred meters below the seafloor (mbsf), but may occur at depths greater than 600 mbsf. In one example the widening may be due to reduced borehole fluid pressure that would enhance borehole failure. In the three other cases, significant decreases in fluid pressure during temporal evolution of breakouts are unlikely. The latter examples may be explained by time-dependent failure of porous sediments that are in an overconsolidated state due to drilling of the borehole. This time-dependent failure could be a consequence of dilational deformation, decrease of pore fluid pressure, and maintenance of sediment strength until migrating pore fluids weaken shear surfaces and allow spallation into the borehole. Breakout orientations, and thus estimates of stress orientations, remain consistent during widening in all four cases. In vertical boreholes, breakouts wider than those initially estimated by resistivity imaging would result in higher estimates of horizontal stress magnitudes. Because the vertical overburden stress is fixed, higher estimated horizontal stresses would favor strike-slip or thrust faulting over normal faulting.
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