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OUTLINE. Introduction Sediment Transport and Deposition From Sediment to Sedimentary Rock Types of Sedimentary Rocks Sedimentary Facies Reading the Story in Sedimentary Rocks Resources in Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks Geo-Recap. OBJECTIVES.

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  • Introduction

  • Sediment Transport and Deposition

  • From Sediment to Sedimentary Rock

  • Types of Sedimentary Rocks

  • Sedimentary Facies

  • Reading the Story in Sedimentary Rocks

  • Resources in Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

  • Geo-Recap



1 Weathering yields sediment that is transported by various geologic agents and deposited as an aggregate of loose solids.

2 Compaction and cementation convert sediment to sedimentary rock.

3 Texture and composition are used to classify sedimentary rocks.

4 Individual layers of sediment differ in texture, composition, or both, depending on the nature of the processes accounting for their deposition.

5 Many extensive sedimentary rock layers were deposited when shallow seas covered large parts of the continents or during withdrawals of seas from the continents.

6 A variety of features known as sedimentary structures form in sediment at the time of deposition.

7 Most fossil evidence of prehistoric life is found in sedimentary rocks.

8 Geologists study sedimentary structures and fossils to determine the geologic history of sedimentary rocks.

9 Some sediments and sedimentary rocks are resources in themselves or contain resources such as petroleum and natural gas.



  • Sediment consists of mechanically weathered solid particles and minerals extracted from solution by inorganic chemical processes and the activities of organisms.

  • Sedimentary particles are designated in order of decreasing size as gravel, sand, silt, and clay.

  • Sedimentary particles are rounded and sorted during transport, although the degree of rounding and sorting depends on particle size, transport distance, and depositional process.

  • Any area where sediment is deposited is a depositional environment. Major depositional settings are continental, transitional, and marine, each of which includes several specific depositional environments.

  • Lithification involves compaction and cementation that convert sediment into sedimentary rock. Silica and calcium carbonate are the most common chemical cements, but iron oxide and iron hydroxide cements are important in some rocks.



  • Sedimentary rocks are classified as detrital or chemical. 1. Detrital sedimentary rocks are made up of solid particles such as sand or gravel derived from preexisting rocks. They include conglomerate, sedimentary breccia, sandstone, and mudrocks. 2. Chemical sedimentary rocks are derived from ions in solution by inorganic chemical processes or the biochemical activities of organisms. A subcategory called biochemical sedimentary rocks is recognized.

  • Chemical sedimentary rocks called carbonates contain minerals with the carbonate ion (CO3)-2, as in limestone and dolostone. Dolostone probably forms when magnesium partly replaces the calcium in limestone.

  • Chemical sedimentary rocks known as evaporites include rock salt and rock gypsum, both of which form by inorganic precipitation of minerals from evaporating water.

  • Coal is a type of biochemical sedimentary rock composed of the altered remains of land plants.

  • Sedimentary structures such as bedding, crossbedding, and ripple marks commonly form in sediments when or shortly after they are deposited. These features preserved in sedimentary rocks help geologists determine ancient current directions and depositional environments.



  • Sediments and sedimentary rocks are the host materials for most fossils. Fossils provide the only record of prehistoric life and are useful for environmental interpretations.

  • Depositional environments of ancient sedimentary rocks are determined by studying sedimentary textures and structures, examining fossils, and making comparisons with present-day sediments deposited by known processes.

  • Fossils and sedimentary structures allow geologists to decipher geologic history.

  • Many sediments and sedimentary rocks, including sand, gravel, evaporites, coal, and banded iron formations, are important natural resources. Most oil and natural gas are found in sedimentary rocks.