l>Sedimentary Rocks
EENS 1110

Physical Geology

rebab.net University Prof. Stephen A. Nelson
Sediment and Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks

Rivers, oceans, winds, and also rain runoff all have the ability to carry the corpuscle washed off of eroding rocks. Together material, called detritus, consists of pieces of rocks and minerals. As soon as the power of the transporting present is not solid enough to carry these particles, the particles drop out in the process of sedimentation. This form of sedimentary deposition is described as clastic sedimentation. Another kind of sedimentary deposition wake up when product is dissolved in water, and chemically precipitates native the water. This form of precipitate is described as chemical sedimentation. A third process can occur, wherein life organisms extract ions liquified in water to make such things as shells and also bones. This type of precipitate is dubbed biochemical sedimentation. The accumulation of plant matter, such together at the bottom that a swamp, is described as organic sedimentation.

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Thus, there room 4 significant types of sedimentary rocks: Clastic Sedimentary Rocks, Chemical Sedimentary Rocks, Biochemical Sedimentary Rocks, and also Organic Sedimentary Rocks.

Clastic Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

The development of a clastic sediment and sedimentary rocks involves five processes:

Weathering -The first step is transforming heavy rock into smaller fragments or liquified ions by physical and chemical weathering as discussed in the last lecture. Erosion - Erosion is actually countless processes i beg your pardon act with each other to reduced the surface ar of the earth. In terms of developing sediment, erosion starts the transportation process by relocating the weathered products from their initial location. This can take ar by gravity (massmovement events like landslides or rock falls), by to run water. Through wind, or by relocating ice. Erosion overlaps with transportation. Transportation - Sediment have the right to be transported by sliding under slopes, gift picked up by the wind, or through being lugged by running water in streams, rivers, or s currents. The distance the sediment is transported and also the energy of the transporting tool all leave ideas in the last sediment that tell us something around the mode of transportation.
Deposition - Sediment is deposited when the power of the transporting medium becomes too low to continue the deliver process. In various other words, if the velocity the the transporting tool becomes also low to transfer sediment, the sediment will loss out and become deposited. The last sediment hence reflects the power of the transferring medium. Lithification (Diagenesis) - Lithification is the process that transforms sediment right into rock. The an initial stage the the procedure is compaction. Compaction occurs as the weight of the overlying material increases. Compaction forces the seed closer together, reduce pore space and eliminating few of the consisted of water. Several of this water may lug mineral components in solution, and also these constituents may later on precipitate as new minerals in the spicy spaces. This causes cementation, which will then start to bind the individual corpuscle together.

Classification - Clastic sedimentary particles and sedimentary rocks are 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 ~ above 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 gets left behind by the transportation process. Thus, rough circuit sediment is usually discovered closer come its source and well grained sediment is uncovered farther from the source.

Textures that Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

When sediment is transported and also deposited, that leaves clues to the mode of transport and deposition. Because that example, if the mode of carry is through sliding down a slope, the shop that result are normally chaotic in nature, and show a wide selection of particle sizes. Grain size and the interrelationship between grains provides the result sediment texture. Thus, we have the right to use the structure of the resulting deposits to offer us ideas to the mode of transport and also deposition.

Sorting - The level of uniformity of grain size. Particles come to be sorted on the communication of density, because of the power of the moving medium. High power currents can lug larger fragments. Together the power decreases, heavier particles are deposited and lighter fragments proceed to it is in transported. This outcomes in sorting because of density.

If the particles have actually the exact same density, climate the heavier particles will likewise be larger, so the sorting will take location on the communication of size. We can classify this dimension sorting top top a loved one basis - well sorted to poorly sorted. Sorting gives hints to the energy conditions of the transporting tool from i m sorry the sediment was deposited.


beach deposits and wind blown deposits generally show good sorting because the energy of the transporting tool is generally constant. stream deposits are usually poorly sorted because the power (velocity) in a stream varies with place in the stream and time.

Rounding - throughout the transportation process, grains may be reduced in size because of abrasion. Random abrasion outcomes in the ultimate rounding turn off of the spicy corners and also edges the grains. Thus, rounding of grains offers us clues to the amount of time a sediment has been in the transportation cycle. Round off is divide on relative terms as well.

Sediment Maturity

Sediment Maturity refers to the size of time that the sediment has been in the sedimentary cycle. Texturally tires sediment is sediment the is well rounded, (as rounding boosts with transport distance and also time) and also well sorted (as sorting gets far better as bigger clasts are left behind and also smaller clasts are lugged away.Because the weathering processes proceeds during sediment transport, mineral grains that space unstable close to the surface end up being less typical as the street of carry or time in the bicycle increases. Therefore compositionally maturation sediment is written of only the many stable minerals.

For example a poorly sediment include 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 to be transported an extremely far and also the sediment is poorly sorted, indicating that small time has been connected in separating larger fragments from smaller fragments.It is compositionally immature due to the fact that it has unstable glass together with minerals that are not an extremely stable close to the surface - olivine and also plagioclase.

On the various other hand a fine sorted beach sand consisting greatly of well rounded quartz seed is texturally mature due to the fact that the grains space rounded, indicating a lengthy time in the transportation cycle, and also the sediment is well sorted, also indicative of the lengthy time compelled to separate the coarser grained material and finer grained product from the sand. The beach sand is compositionally mature since it is consisted of only of quartz i beg your pardon is really stable at the earth"s surface.

Types that Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

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

Conglomerates and also Breccias

Conglomerate and also Breccia are rocks the contain an abundance of outlet grained clasts (pebbles, cobbles, or boulders).In a conglomerate, the coarse grained clasts are well rounded, indicating the they spent substantial time in the transportation procedure and were at some point deposited in a high power environment capable of carrying the huge clasts.In a breccia, the rough circuit grained clasts are really angular, indicating the the clasts spent tiny time in the transport cycle.


A Sandstone is make of sand-sized particles and also forms in numerous different depositional settings. Texture and also composition permit historical interpretation of the transport and depositional cycle and also sometimes allows determination the the source.Quartz is, through far, the dominant mineral in sandstones. Still over there are other varieties. A Quartz arenite – is virtually 100% quartz grains. One Arkose includes abundant feldspar.In a lithic sandstone, the grains room mostly little rock fragments. A Wacke is a sandstone that contains much more than 15% mud (silt and also clay sized grains).. Sandstones are one of the most common species of sedimentary rocks.


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

Fine grained clastics are deposited in non-agitated water, calm water, wherein there is small energy to proceed to carry the little grains. For this reason mudrocks kind in deep water ocean basins and also lakes.

Biochemical and Organic Sediments and also Sedimentary Rocks

Biochemical and Organic sediments and also sedimentary rocks are those derived from life organisms. Once the biology dies, the remains can accumulate to become sediment or sedimentary rock. Amongst the types of rock produced by this procedure are:

Biochemical Limestone - calcite (CaCO3) is precipitated by organisms usually to kind a shell or other skeletal structure. Buildup of this skeletal remains results in a limestone. Sometimes the fossilized remains of the organism are kept in the rock, other times recrystallization throughout lithification has damaged the remains.Limestones are very common sedimentary rocks.

Biochemical Chert - small silica secreting planktonic organism like Radiolaria and also Diatoms have the right to accumulate on the sea floor and recrystallize throughout lithification to kind biochemical chert. The recrystallization results in a difficult rock the is usually seen as thin bed (see figure 7.8a in her test).

Diatomite - when diatoms accumulate and also do not undergo recrystallization, they type a white rock dubbed diatomite as watched in the White Cliffs of Dover (see number 7.22b in your text).

Coal - coal is one organic rock made from organic carbon that is the stays of fossil tree matter. It accumulation in lush tropical marsh settings and also requires deposition in lack of Oxygen. That is high in carbon and also can easily be burned to obtain energy.

Chemical Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Dissolved ion released right into water through the weathering procedure are carried in streams or groundwater.Eventually these dissolved ions end in up in the ocean, explaining why sea water is salty. As soon as water evaporates or the concentration of the ions obtain too high together a an outcome of some other process, the ions recombine by chemistry precipitation to type minerals that can accumulate to end up being chemical sediments and chemical sedimentary rocks. Amongst these are:

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

Travertine - Groundwater include dissolve Calcium and bicarbonate ions have the right to precipitate calcite to type a chemically precipitation limestone, called travertine. This can take place in lakes, warm springs, and also caves.

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

Chemical Cherts - Groundwater flowing with rock have the right to precipitate SiO2 to replace minerals that were present. This produce a non-biogenic chert. There are numerous varsities of such chert that room given various names depending on their attributes, because that example:

Flint – black color or gray native organic matter. Jasper – Red or yellow native Fe oxides. Petrified wood – hardwood grain maintained by silica. Agate – Concentrically layered ring

Sedimentary Structures

As pointed out previously, every stages the the sedimentary bike leave ideas to procedures that were operation in the past. Maybe the most easily observable hints are frameworks left through the depositional process. Us here comment on sedimentary structures and also the information that have the right to be obtained from this structures.

Stratification and also Bedding

Because sediment is deposit in short lying locations that often expand over large areas, succeeding depositional events produce layers called bedding or stratification that is typically the most obvious feature that sedimentary rocks.The layering have the right to be early to differences in color of the material, distinctions in serial size, or distinctions in mineral content or chemical composition.All the these differences can be associated to distinctions in the environment present during the depositional events. (see figure 7.12 in your text).

A collection of bed are described as strata. A succession of strata that is sufficiently distinct to be known on a regional scale is termed a formation. A formation is the an essential geologic mapping unit. (See number 7.13 in your text).

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Rhythmic Layering - alternative parallel class having various properties.Sometimes led to by seasonal transforms in deposition (Varves). I.e. Lake shop wherein outlet sediment is deposited in summer months and fine sediment is deposited in the winter when the surface ar of the lake is frozen.