l>Sedimentary Rocks
EENS 1110

Physical Geology

lungemine.com University Prof. Stephen A. Nelson
Sediment and Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks

Rivers, oceans, winds, and also rain runoff all have actually the ability to bring the particles washed off of eroding rocks. Such material, dubbed detritus, is composed of fragments of rocks and minerals. Once the energy of the transporting current is not strong enough to lug these particles, the particles drop out in the process of sedimentation. This kind of sedimentary deposition is described as clastic sedimentation. Another type of sedimentary deposition occurs when product is liquified in water, and chemically precipitates indigenous the water. This form of precipitate is referred to as chemical sedimentation. A third procedure can occur, wherein life organisms extract ions liquified in water to make such points as shells and bones. This type of sedimentation is called biochemical sedimentation. The buildup of tree matter, such as at the bottom the a swamp, is described as organic sedimentation.

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Thus, there room 4 major types the sedimentary rocks: Clastic Sedimentary Rocks, Chemical Sedimentary Rocks, Biochemical Sedimentary Rocks, and Organic Sedimentary Rocks.

Clastic Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

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

Weathering -The first step is transforming solid rock right into smaller pieces or liquified ions by physical and also chemical weathering as debated in the last lecture. Erosion - Erosion is actually many processes which act together to lower the surface ar of the earth. In state of developing sediment, erosion starts the transportation process by moving the weathered products from their initial location. This deserve to take ar by gravity (massmovement occasions like landslides or absent falls), by running water. By wind, or by moving ice. Erosion overlaps through transportation. Transportation - Sediment have the right to be transported by sliding under slopes, gift picked up by the wind, or by being lugged by to run water in streams, rivers, or s currents. The street the sediment is transported and also the power of the transporting tool all leave clues in the last sediment the tell united state something around the mode of transportation.
Deposition - Sediment is deposited once the energy of the transporting tool becomes also low to continue the transport process. In various other words, if the velocity of the transporting tool becomes too low to move sediment, the sediment will fall out and also become deposited. The final sediment therefore reflects the power of the carrying medium. Lithification (Diagenesis) - Lithification is the procedure that turns sediment right into rock. The an initial stage the the process is compaction. Compaction occurs together the weight of the overlying material increases. Compaction pressures the grains closer together, reduce pore room and eliminating several of the had water. Several of this water may lug mineral materials in solution, and these constituents may later precipitate as new minerals in the sharp spaces. This reasons cementation, which will certainly then start to tie the individual particles together.

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

Name the Particle Size Range Loose Sediment Consolidated Rock
Boulder >256 mm Gravel Conglomerate or Breccia (depends top top 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 transportation process. Thus, rough circuit sediment is usually found closer come its resource and fine grained sediment is uncovered farther native the source.

Textures the Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

When sediment is transported and also deposited, the leaves ideas to the mode of transport and also deposition. Because that example, if the setting of transfer is by sliding under a slope, the store that an outcome are typically chaotic in nature, and also show a wide range of fragment sizes. Serial size and also the interrelationship in between grains provides the resulting sediment texture. Thus, we have the right to use the texture of the result deposits to provide us ideas to the mode of transport and deposition.

Sorting - The degree of uniformity of serial size. Particles become sorted ~ above the communication of density, due to the fact that of the power of the carrying medium. High energy currents can bring larger fragments. As the energy decreases, heavier particles are deposited and also lighter fragments continue to be transported. This results in sorting because of density.

If the particles have actually the very same density, climate the heavier particles will additionally be larger, for this reason the sorting will take place on the communication of size. We deserve to classify this size sorting top top a relative basis - well sorted come poorly sorted. Sorting gives hints to the energy conditions of the transporting medium from i m sorry the sediment to be deposited.


beach deposits and wind swollen deposits typically show an excellent sorting because the energy of the transporting tool is commonly constant. currently deposits are usually poorly sorted due to the fact that the energy (velocity) in a stream varies with position in the stream and also time.

Rounding - throughout the transportation process, grains may be decreased in size due to abrasion. Arbitrarily abrasion outcomes in the eventual rounding turn off of the spicy corners and edges the grains. Thus, rounding of grains gives us clues to the amount of time a sediment has been in the transport cycle. Rounding is share on relative terms as well.

Sediment Maturity

Sediment Maturity describes the length of time that the sediment has remained in the sedimentary cycle. Texturally mature sediment is sediment the is well rounded, (as rounding boosts with move distance and time) and also well sorted (as sorting gets much better as larger clasts space left behind and smaller clasts are carried away.Because the weathering processes proceeds during sediment transport, mineral seed that are unstable near the surface come to be less typical as the street of transport or time in the bicycle increases. For this reason compositionally tires sediment is created of just the most stable minerals.

For instance a poorly sediment include glassy angular volcanic fragments, olivine crystals and plagioclase is texturally immature since the pieces are angular, describe they have not been transported very far and the sediment is poorly sorted, denote that tiny time has actually been affiliated in separating larger pieces from smaller sized fragments.It is compositionally immature due to the fact that it consists of unstable glass together with minerals that room not really stable close to the surface ar - olivine and also plagioclase.

On the other hand a fine sorted beach sand consisting largely of well rounded quartz grains is texturally mature because the grains are rounded, indicating a lengthy time in the transportation cycle, and also the sediment is fine sorted, additionally indicative the the long time required to separate the coarser grained material and finer grained product from the sand. The beach sand is compositionally mature because it is made up only that quartz i m sorry is very stable in ~ the earth"s surface.

Types the Clastic Sedimentary Rocks

We next look at assorted clastic sedimentary rocks that result from lithification of sediment.

Conglomerates and also Breccias

Conglomerate and Breccia room rocks that contain an abundance of rough circuit grained clasts (pebbles, cobbles, or boulders).In a conglomerate, the outlet grained clasts are well rounded, indicating the they spent substantial time in the transportation process and were ultimately deposited in a high energy environment qualified of delivering the huge clasts.In a breccia, the coarse grained clasts are really angular, denote the the clasts spent small time in the transportation cycle.


A Sandstone is made of sand-sized particles and forms in countless different depositional settings. Texture and composition permit historical interpretation the the transport and depositional cycle and also sometimes permits determination of the source.Quartz is, by far, the dominant mineral in sandstones. Still over there are various other varieties. A Quartz arenite – is virtually 100% quartz grains. One Arkose consists of abundant feldspar.In a lithic sandstone, the grains are mostly little rock fragments. A Wacke is a sandstone the contains an ext than 15% dirt (silt and clay sized grains).. Sandstones are one of the many common species of sedimentary rocks.


Mudrocks room made of good 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 also is a rock that often tends to break into thin flat fragments (See number 7.6e in your text). A mudstone is comparable to a shale, but does no break into thin level fragments.Organic-rich shales space the resource of petroleum.

Fine grained clastics room deposited in non-agitated water, calm water, where there is tiny energy to proceed to carry the tiny grains. For this reason mudrocks form in deep water s basins and also lakes.

Biochemical and Organic Sediments and also Sedimentary Rocks

Biochemical and also Organic sediments and sedimentary rocks are those acquired from living organisms. As soon as the biology dies, the remains have the right to accumulate to end up being sediment or sedimentary rock. Among the types of rock produced by this process are:

Biochemical Limestone - calcite (CaCO3) is precipitation by organisms generally to type a shell or various other skeletal structure. Accumulation of this skeletal stays results in a limestone. Sometimes the fossilized stays of the organism are preserved in the rock, various other times recrystallization throughout lithification has destroyed the remains.Limestones are very common sedimentary rocks.

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

Diatomite - once diatoms accumulate and do not undergo recrystallization, they form a white rock referred to as diatomite as watched in the White Cliffs the Dover (see number 7.22b in her text).

Coal - charcoal is an organic rock made from organic carbon the is the remains of fossil plant matter. It accumulation in lush tropical marsh settings and also requires deposition in lack of Oxygen. The is high in carbon and can easily be melted to acquire energy.

Chemical Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks

Dissolved ion released right into water through the weathering procedure are lugged in streams or groundwater.Eventually these liquified ions finish in increase in the ocean, explaining why sea water is salty. Once water evaporates or the concentration of the ions obtain too high as a result of some other process, the ions recombine by chemistry precipitation to form minerals that deserve to accumulate to become chemical sediments and chemical sedimentary rocks. Among these are:

Evaporites - formed by evaporation the sea water or lake water. Produces halite (salt) and gypsum deposits by chemistry precipitation as concentration that solids increases as result of water lose by evaporation. This can happen in lakes that have no outlets (like the good Salt Lake) or limited ocean basins, like has 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 precipitated limestone, dubbed travertine. This can take place in lakes, warm springs, and also caves.

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

Chemical Cherts - Groundwater flowing v rock can precipitate SiO2 to replace minerals the were present. This produce a non-biogenic chert. Over there are countless varsities of together chert that room given different names depending upon their attributes, because that example:

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

Sedimentary Structures

As mentioned previously, every stages of the sedimentary bicycle leave clues to procedures that were operation in the past. Maybe the most quickly observable ideas are structures left through the depositional process. Us here talk about sedimentary structures and the info that deserve to be derived from this structures.

Stratification and also Bedding

Because sediment is deposit in low lying locations that often extend over broad areas, succeeding depositional events develop layers called bedding or stratification the is usually the most noticeable feature the sedimentary rocks.The layering deserve to be early out to differences in color of the material, distinctions in grain size, or distinctions in mineral contents or chemical composition.All the these distinctions can be related to distinctions in the environment current during the depositional events. (see figure 7.12 in her text).

A collection of beds are referred to as strata. A succession of strata the is sufficiently distinctive to be well-known on a local scale is termed a formation. A formation is the basic geologic mapping unit. (See figure 7.13 in her text).

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Rhythmic Layering - alternating parallel great having various properties.Sometimes resulted in by seasonal changes in deposition (Varves). I.e. Lake store wherein outlet sediment is deposit in summer months and also fine sediment is deposited in the winter as soon as the surface of the lake is frozen.