l>Sedimentary Rocks
EENS 1110

Physical Geology

naipublishers.com University Prof. Stephen A. Nelson
Sediment and also Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks

Rivers, oceans, winds, and also rain runoff all have the capacity to lug the particles washed off of eroding rocks. Together material, referred to as detritus, consists of pieces of rocks and minerals. When the energy of the transporting present is not solid enough to lug these particles, the corpuscle drop the end in the procedure of sedimentation. This form of sedimentary deposition is described as clastic sedimentation. Another kind of sedimentary deposition wake up when material is dissolved in water, and chemically precipitates native the water. This type of sedimentation is referred to as chemical sedimentation. A third process can occur, wherein living organisms extract ions liquified in water to make such points as shells and bones. This kind of precipitate is called biochemical sedimentation. The buildup of tree matter, such as at the bottom that a swamp, is described as organic sedimentation.

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Thus, there are 4 major types that sedimentary rocks: Clastic Sedimentary Rocks, Chemical Sedimentary Rocks, Biochemical Sedimentary Rocks, and also Organic Sedimentary Rocks.

Clastic Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

The formation of a clastic sediment and sedimentary rocks requires five processes:

Weathering -The an initial step is transforming hard rock into smaller pieces or liquified ions by physical and also chemical weathering as discussed in the last lecture. Erosion - Erosion is actually many processes which act with each other to reduced the surface of the earth. In state of producing sediment, erosion begins the transportation procedure by relocating the weathered commodities from their original location. This have the right to take ar by gravity (massmovement occasions like landslides or absent falls), by running water. Through wind, or by moving ice. Erosion overlaps v transportation. Transportation - Sediment deserve to be transported through sliding down slopes, gift picked increase by the wind, or by being carried by to run water in streams, rivers, or s currents. The street the sediment is transported and also the energy of the transporting medium all leave clues in the final sediment that tell united state something about the mode of transportation.
Deposition - Sediment is deposited as soon as the energy of the transporting tool becomes as well low to continue the transport process. In other words, if the velocity of the transporting tool becomes as well low to deliver sediment, the sediment will loss out and become deposited. The last sediment for this reason reflects the power of the carrying medium. Lithification (Diagenesis) - Lithification is the procedure that transforms sediment into rock. The an initial stage that the process is compaction. Compaction occurs together the load of the overlying product increases. Compaction pressures the grains closer together, reducing pore space and eliminating several of the had water. Few of this water may bring mineral contents in solution, and also these constituents may later on precipitate as new minerals in the pore spaces. This reasons cementation, which will then begin to tie the individual corpuscle together.

Classification - Clastic sedimentary particles and sedimentary rocks space classified in terms of grain size and also shape, amongst other factors.

Name of Particle Size Range Loose Sediment Consolidated Rock
Boulder >256 mm Gravel Conglomerate or Breccia (depends on rounding)
Cobble 64 - 256 mm Gravel
Pebble 2 - 64 mm Gravel
Sand 1/16 - 2mm Sand Sandstone
Silt 1/256 - 1/16 mm Silt Siltstone

In general, the coarser sediment it s okay left behind through the transport process. Thus, rough circuit sediment is usually uncovered closer to its resource and good grained sediment is uncovered farther native the source.

Textures the Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

When sediment is transported and deposited, it leaves clues to the mode of transport and deposition. For example, if the mode of deliver is through sliding down a slope, the shop that an outcome are generally chaotic in nature, and also show a wide selection of bit sizes. Serial size and also the interrelationship in between grains provides the result sediment texture. Thus, we can use the texture of the resulting deposits to give us hints to the setting of transport and also deposition.

Sorting - The level of energy of serial size. Particles end up being sorted ~ above the basis of density, because of the energy of the delivering medium. High energy currents can lug larger fragments. As the energy decreases, more heavier particles are deposited and lighter fragments proceed to be transported. This results in sorting due to density.

If the particles have the same density, climate the heavier particles will likewise be larger, so the sorting will take ar on the communication of size. We have the right to classify this dimension sorting on a loved one basis - well sorted to poorly sorted. Sorting gives clues to the energy conditions of the transporting medium from which the sediment to be deposited.


coast deposits and also wind swollen deposits normally show an excellent sorting due to the fact that the energy of the transporting medium is typically constant. stream deposits space usually poorly sorted since the power (velocity) in a stream varies with place in the stream and time.

Rounding - during the transport process, grains may be lessened in size due to abrasion. Random abrasion outcomes in the eventual rounding off of the spicy corners and edges of grains. Thus, rounding of grains provides us ideas to the amount of time a sediment has remained in the transportation cycle. Round off is divide on family member terms as well.

Sediment Maturity

Sediment Maturity refers to the size of time the the sediment has remained in the sedimentary cycle. Texturally mature sediment is sediment that is fine rounded, (as rounding boosts with deliver distance and time) and well sorted (as sorting gets much better as bigger clasts room left behind and smaller clasts are brought away.Because the weathering processes proceeds during sediment transport, mineral seed that room unstable close to the surface end up being less common as the distance of carry or time in the bicycle increases. Therefore compositionally maturation sediment is composed of only the many stable minerals.

For example a poorly sediment containing glassy angular volcano fragments, olivine crystals and plagioclase is texturally immature due to the fact that the pieces are angular, describe they have actually not been transported very far and also the sediment is poorly sorted, denote that little time has actually been affiliated in separating larger pieces from smaller sized fragments.It is compositionally immature because it has unstable glass together with minerals that room not an extremely stable close to the surface - olivine and plagioclase.

On the other hand a well sorted coast sand consisting greatly of well rounded quartz seed is texturally mature because the grains room rounded, indicating a lengthy time in the transport cycle, and also the sediment is fine sorted, likewise indicative that the lengthy time compelled to separate the coarser grained material and finer grained product from the sand. The coast sand is compositionally mature due to the fact that it is consisted of only the quartz i m sorry is an extremely stable at the earth"s surface.

Types the Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

We following look at various clastic sedimentary rocks that an outcome from lithification of sediment.

Conglomerates and also Breccias

Conglomerate and also Breccia are rocks the contain an abundance of coarse grained clasts (pebbles, cobbles, or boulders).In a conglomerate, the rough circuit grained clasts room well rounded, indicating the they spent significant time in the transportation process and were at some point deposited in a high energy environment capable of transporting the large clasts.In a breccia, the coarse grained clasts are very angular, denote the the clasts spent small time in the transportation cycle.


A Sandstone is do of sand-sized particles and forms in plenty of different depositional settings. Texture and composition permit historic interpretation that the transport and also depositional cycle and also sometimes enables determination of the source.Quartz is, by far, the leading mineral in sandstones. Still over there are other varieties. A Quartz arenite – is virtually 100% quartz grains. An Arkose has abundant feldspar.In a lithic sandstone, the grains room mostly little rock fragments. A Wacke is a sandstone the contains more than 15% dirt (silt and clay size grains).. Sandstones are among the many common species of sedimentary rocks.


Mudrocks space made of fine grained clasts (silt and clay sized) . A siltstone is one range that is composed of silt-sized fragments.A shale is written of clay size particles and also is a rock that often tends to break right into thin flat fragments (See number 7.6e in your text). A mudstone is similar to a shale, however does not break right into thin level fragments.Organic-rich shales room the resource of petroleum.

Fine grained clastics room deposited in non-agitated water, calm water, where there is little energy to continue to transfer the little grains. Therefore mudrocks kind in deep water ocean basins and also lakes.

Biochemical and also Organic Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Biochemical and also Organic sediments and sedimentary rocks room those acquired from life organisms. Once the organism dies, the remains deserve to accumulate to end up being sediment or sedimentary rock. Amongst the species of rock produced by this process are:

Biochemical Limestone - calcite (CaCO3) is precipitation by organisms usually to form a shell or other skeletal structure. Accumulation of these skeletal stays results in a limestone. Occasionally the fossilized remains of the organism are preserved in the rock, various other times recrystallization during lithification has destroyed the remains.Limestones are really common sedimentary rocks.

Biochemical Chert - tiny silica secreting planktonic organism like Radiolaria and Diatoms deserve to accumulate ~ above the sea floor and recrystallize throughout lithification to kind biochemical chert. The recrystallization outcomes in a hard rock the is usually seen as thin beds (see figure 7.8a in her test).

Diatomite - once diatoms accumulate and also do not undergo recrystallization, they form a white rock called diatomite as viewed in the White Cliffs that Dover (see number 7.22b in your text).

Coal - charcoal is one organic absent made indigenous organic carbon the is the continues to be of fossil plant matter. It accumulation in lush tropical marsh settings and requires deposition in lack of Oxygen. That is high in carbon and also can conveniently be shed to achieve energy.

Chemical Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Dissolved ions released right into water through the weathering procedure are lugged in streams or groundwater.Eventually these liquified ions finish in up in the ocean, explaining why sea water is salty. Once water evaporates or the concentration the the ions gain too high together a result of some other process, the ions recombine by chemical precipitation to kind minerals that have the right to accumulate to come to be chemical sediments and also chemical sedimentary rocks. Among these are:

Evaporites - created by evaporation that sea water or lake water. To produce halite (salt) and gypsum deposits by chemical precipitation as concentration the solids increases due to water lose by evaporation. This can occur in lakes that have actually no outlets (like the good Salt Lake) or minimal ocean basins, like has actually happened in the Mediterranean Sea or the Gulf that Mexico in the past.

Travertine - Groundwater comprise dissolve Calcium and bicarbonate ions can precipitate calcite to form a chemically precipitation limestone, called travertine. This can take place in lakes, hot springs, and caves.

Dolostones - Limestone that have been chemically amendment by Mg-rich fluids flowing through the rock space converted come dolostones. CaCO3 is recrystallized to a new mineral dolomite CaMg(CO3)2.

Chemical Cherts - Groundwater flowing with rock deserve to precipitate SiO2 to replace minerals the were present. This produce a non-biogenic chert. Over there are numerous varsities of such chert that space given different names relying on their attributes, because that example:

Flint – black color or gray from organic matter. Jasper – Red or yellow indigenous Fe oxides. Petrified timber – wood grain maintained by silica. Agate – Concentrically layered rings

Sedimentary Structures

As pointed out previously, every stages of the sedimentary bicycle leave clues to procedures that were operating in the past. Possibly the most easily observable ideas are structures left through the depositional process. Us here discuss sedimentary structures and also the information that have the right to be acquired from this structures.

Stratification and Bedding

Because sediment is deposited in short lying areas that often prolong over vast areas, successive depositional events develop layers dubbed bedding or stratification the is usually the most noticeable feature the sedimentary rocks.The layering have the right to be early to distinctions in color of the material, distinctions in serial size, or differences in mineral contents or chemistry composition.All the these distinctions can be related to differences in the environment current during the depositional events. (see figure 7.12 in your text).

A collection of beds are described as strata. A succession of strata that is sufficiently distinctive to be recognized on a local scale is termed a formation. A development is the fundamental geologic mapping unit. (See number 7.13 in your text).

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Rhythmic Layering - alternative parallel layers having different properties.Sometimes caused by seasonal alters in deposition (Varves). I.e. Lake shop wherein coarse sediment is deposit in summer months and also fine sediment is deposited in the winter when the surface ar of the lake is frozen.