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A cased and sealed borehole in the Northern Barbados accretionary complex was the site of the first attempts to measure permeability in situ along a plate boundary décollement. Three separate efforts at Hole 949C yielded permeability estimates for the décollement spanning four orders of magnitude. An analysis of problems encountered during installation of the casing and seals provides insights into how the borehole conditions may have led to the wide range of results. During the installation, sediments from the surrounding formation repeatedly intruded into the borehole and casing. Stress analysis shows that the weak sediments were deforming plastically and the radial and tangential stresses around the borehole...