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Sedimentary Rock 2

Sedimentary Rock 2

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Published by Muzammil Hussain

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Published by: Muzammil Hussain on Jan 27, 2010
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Sedimentary rock 
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to:navigation, search MiddleTriassicmarginal marine sequence of siltstones (below) and limestones (above), VirginFormation, southwesternUtah.
Sedimentary rock 
is the type of rock  that is formed bysedimentation of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that causemineraland/or organic  particles (detritus
) to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from asolution.Particles that form a sedimentary rock by accumulating are calledsediment. Before being deposited, sediment was formed byweathering and erosionin a source area, and then transported to the place of deposition bywater , wind, mass movement or glaciers. The sedimentary rock cover of the continents of theEarth's crustis extensive, but the totalcontribution of sedimentary rocks is estimated to be only 5% of the total volume of the crust.Sedimentary rocks are only a thin veneer over a crust consisting mainly of  igneousand metamorphic rocks.Sedimentary rocks are deposited in stratathat form a structure called bedding. The study of  sedimentary rocks and rock strata provides information about the subsurfacethat is useful for  civil engineering, for example in the construction of roads,houses, tunnels canals or other  constructions. Sedimentary rocks are also important sources of natural resourceslikecoal,fossil fuels, drinking water or ores. The study of the sequence of sedimentary rock strata is the main source for scientific knowledgeabout theEarth's history, including palaeogeography, paleoclimatologyand thehistory of life. Thescientific discipline that studies the properties and origin of sedimentary rocks is called sedimentology. Sedimentology is both part of geologyand physical geographyand overlaps  partly with other disciplines in theEarth sciences,such as pedology,geomorphology, geochemistryor structural geology.
[edit] Classification
Sedimentary rocks are classified into three groups. These groups are clastic, chemical precipitateand biochemical (or biogenic).
[edit] Clastic
Main article:Clastic roc
Claystonedeposited inGlacial Lake Missoula,Montana, USA. Note very fine and flat bedding, common for distallacustrinedeposition.Clastic sedimentary rocks are composed of discrete fragments or clasts of materials derived fromother minerals. They are composed largely of quartz with other common minerals including feldspar ,amphiboles,clay minerals,and sometimes more exoticigneous and metamorphic  minerals.
Clastic sedimentary rocks, such as limestone or sandstone, were formed from rocks that have been broken down into fragments by weathering, which then have been transported anddeposited elsewhere.Clastic sedimentary rocks may be regarded as falling along a scale of grain size, withshalebeing the finest with particles less than 0.002 mm, siltstonebeing a little bigger with particles between 0.002 to 0.063 mm, and sandstonebeing coarser still with grains 0.063 to 2 mm, and conglomeratesand brecciasbeing more coarse with grains 2 to 263 mm. Breccia has sharper   particles, while conglomerate is categorized by its rounded particles. Particles bigger than263 mm are termed
(angular) or 
aregeneral terms for sedimentary rock with clay/silt-, sand- or conglomerate/breccia-sized particles.The classification of clastic sedimentary rocks is complex because there are many variablesinvolved. Particle size (both the average size and range of sizes of the particles), composition of the particles (in sandstones, this includesquartz arenites, arkoses,andlithic sandstones
), thecement, and the matrix (the name given to the smaller particles present in the spaces betweenlarger grains) must all be taken into consideration.Shales, which consist mostly of clay minerals, are generally further classified on the basis of composition and bedding. Coarser clastic sedimentary rocks are classified according to their  particle size and composition. Orthoquartzite is a very pure quartz sandstone;arkose is a sandstone with quartz and abundant feldspar;greywackeis a sandstone with quartz, clay,feldspar, and metamorphic rock fragments present, which was formed from the sediments carried by turbidity currents.All rocks disintegrate when exposed to mechanical and chemicalweatheringat the Earth'ssurface.Lower Antelope Canyonwas carved out of the surroundingsandstoneby both mechanical weathering and chemical weathering. Wind, sand, and water fromflash flooding are the primary weathering agents.
Mechanical weathering
is the breakdown of rock into particles without producing changes inthe chemical composition of the minerals in the rock. Ice is the most important agent of mechanical weathering. Water percolates into cracks and fissures within the rock, freezes, andexpands. The force exerted by the expansion is sufficient to widen cracks and break off pieces of rock. Heating and cooling of the rock, and the resulting expansion and contraction, also aids the process. Mechanical weathering contributes further to the breakdown of rock by increasing thesurface area exposed to chemical agents.
Chemical weathering
is the breakdown of rock by chemical reaction. In this process theminerals within the rock are changed into particles that can be easily carried away. Air and water are both involved in many complex chemical reactions. The minerals in igneous rocks may beunstable under normal atmospheric conditions, those formed at higher temperatures being more

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