Sedimentary Rocks

Deposited on or Near Surface of Earth by
Mechanical or Chemical Processes

What Rocks Tell Us
Rock Type
Igneous

Sedimentary

How Classified
Composition
Texture
Chemical
Composition
Grain Size

Composition
Metamorphic

Mineral Makeup
Texture

What it Tells Us
Tectonic Setting
Cooling History
Surface
Environment
Energy of
Environment
Original Rock Type
Temperature,
Pressure
Degree of Change

Types of Sedimentary Rock
• Clastic (terrigenous or detrital)



Conglomerate or Breccia
Sandstone
Siltstone
Shale

• Chemical/biochemical
– Evaporites
– Carbonate sedimentary rocks (limestones and
dolostone)
– Siliceous sedimentary rocks

• Organic (coals)
– Other - ironstones

Sedimentary Rocks are the
Principal Repository for
Information About the
Earth’s Past Environment

Depositional environments in ancient sediments are
recognized using a combination of sedimentary facies,
sedimentary structures and fossils

Environmental Clues in
Sedimentary Rocks




Grain Size - Power of Transport Medium
Grading - Often Due to Floods
Rounding
Transport, Reworking
Sorting
Cross-bedding - Wind, Wave or Current
Action

}

Environmental Clues in
Sedimentary Rocks
• Fossils
– Salt Water - Corals, Echinoderms
– Fresh Water - Insects, Amphibians
– Terrestrial - Leaves, Land Animals

• Color And Chemistry
– Red Beds - Often Terrestrial
– Black Shale - Oxygen Poor, Often Deep Water
– Evaporites – Arid Climates

Sedimentary Rocks
Clastic Rocks
• Made of Fragmentary
Material
• Deposited by
– Water (Most
Common)
– Wind
– Glacial Action
– Gravity

Biochemical
Sedimentary Rocks
• Evaporation
• Precipitation
• Biogenic Sediments

Clasts (larger pieces, such as sand or
gravel)
• Clasts and matrix
(labelled),
and iron oxide
cement
(reddish brown
color)

Terrigenous (also called detrital or clastic)
• Terrigenous
sedimentary rocks
are classified
according to their
texture (grain size):
Gravel:
Grain size greater than 2 mm
1. If rounded clasts = conglomerate
2. If angular clasts = breccia

•Sandstones

•Conglomerates

Rounded fragments

•Breccia

Angular fragments

CLASTIC ROCKS
• Formed from broken rock fragments
weathered and eroded by river, glacier, wind
and sea waves. These clastic sediments are
found deposited on floodplains, beaches, in
desert and on the sea floors.
(mudstone)

solidify

Clastic rocks

• Clastic rocks are classified on the basis of the grain
size: conglomerate, sandstone, shale etc.

Clastic Rocks
Classified by:
• Grain Size
• Grain Composition
• Texture

Degree of roundness helps in knowing the
distance of transportation (method of erosion)
•Angular clasts- short distance transport from the source
•Rounded clasts- long distance transport

Sediment Sizes and Clastic
Rock Types
Rock Type

Sediment

Grain Size

Shale

Clay

less than 0.001 mm

Siltstone

Silt

.001-0.1 mm

Sandstone

Sand

.01-1 mm

Conglomerate Gravel

1mm +

Sedimentary rocks made of silt- and clay-sized
particles are collectively called mudrocks, and are
the most abundant sedimentary rocks.

Bedding or Stratification
• Almost Always Present in Sedimentary
Rocks
• Originally Horizontal
• Tilting by Earth Forces Later
• Variations in Conditions of Deposition
• Size of Beds (Thickness)
– Usually 1-100 Cm
– Can Range From Microscopic to 50m

GRADED BEDDING

Fine gravelly lithounit

Medium-coarse sandy
lithounit (cross stratified)

Laminated layers of fine silt and clay

Cross-stratified sst.
Paleo-flow from
right to left

Ripple marks

Mud cracks

Biogenic structures

Foot prints

Diagenesis
Compaction
+
Cementing
Quartz
Calcite
Iron Oxide
Clay
Glauconite
Feldspar

Alteration
• Limestone - Dolomite
• Plagioclase – Albite
Recrystallization
• Limestone
Diagenesis is any chemical, physical,
or biological change undergone by a
sediment after its initial deposition and
during and after its lithification.

Cementation
Clastic particles ranging from siltsize to boulder-size may be
deposited on the sea floor. As
they are buried, ion-laden sea
water may deposit minerals in
the pore spaces between the
grains, thus effectively
cementing them together. By
this process the sediments
become rocks such as
siltstone, sandstone and
conglomerate.

Compaction
Clastic particles smaller than
silt, such as mud are deposited
on the sea floor. As they are
buried, the weight of overlying
sediments presses downward
on the mud particles and
compacts them, resulting in the
formation of rocks such as
claystone,mudstone or shale.

TYPES OF SEDIMENTARY ROCKS
Clastic rocks



Chemical & Organic rocks

Sandstones
Conglomerates
Breccia
Shale/mudstones

Evaporites rocks
These rocks are formed
due to evaporation of saline
water (sea water)
eg. Gypsum, Halit
(rock salt)

Carbonate rocks

Organic rocks

Form basically from
CaCO3 – both by
chemical leaching and
by organic source
(biochemical)
eg.
Limestone; dolomite

Form due to
decomposition of
organic remains
under temperature
and pressure eg.
Coal/Lignite etc.

Chemical Sediments
Evaporites -Water
Soluble
• Halite
• Gypsum
• Calcite
Precipitates
Example: Ca(sol'n) +
SO4 (Sol'n) = CaSO4
• Gypsum
• Limestone
• Iron Formations

Alteration After
Deposition
• Dolomite
Biogenic Sediments
• Limestone - Shells,
Reefs, Etc.
Organic Remains
• Coal
• Petroleum

EVAPORITIC ROCKS
These rocks are formed within the a depositional basin
from chemical substances dissolved in the seawater or
lake water.

Gypsum

CaSO4.2H20

Halite

(NaCl)

Economic importance of Evaporites

• SALT: other then daily use of salt for cooking,




it is used
For production of Paper,
Soap
Detergents
Antiseptics
As chemical for dyeing etc.

• GYPSUM:

is used for plaster and in
manufacturing construction materials.

Biogenic Sediments
–Chalk: which is made up of foraminefera is very fine grained

Non-Clastic
Sedimentary
Particles I
Broken fragments of
calcite, mostly from
algae. Shallow sub
tidal sediments from
the Yucatan,
Holocene.

Chalk

Largest fragments are about 1 mm in length.

Biogenic Sediments
Non-Clastic Sedimentary Particles
Broken shell fragments of calcite
frombivalve molluscs. These shell
fragments accumulated on a beach
and are cemented together.

This rock is almost
100 percent shell fragments,
and is therefore called a coquina.
Largest fragments about 2 cm in length.

CARBONATE ROCKS
• Limestone: It is a non-clastic rock
formed either chemically or due to
precipitation of calcite (CaCO3) from
organisms usually (shell). These
remains will result in formation of a
limestone.
•Limestones formed by chemical precipitation are usually fine
grained, whereas, in case of organic limestone the grain size
vary depending upon the type of organism responsible for the
formation
–Fossiliferous Limestone: which medium to coarse grained, as it is
formed out of cementation of Shells.

COALS: Organic Remains
Coals are carbon-rich rocks that are composed of the
altered remains of woody plant debris.
The two principal types of coals are:
•lignite (brown coal): composed
•of loosely bound (friable) organic
•detritus, including some clearly
•recognizable plant remains
•bituminous coal: highly compacted
•black coal composed of
•recrystallized carbon

Coal Seams, Utah

• Delta, continental environments
• Carbonized Woody Material
• Often fossilized trees, leaves
present
Coal Formation

Plant Fragments Are Often
Visible in Coal

Characteristics and names of some common clastic sedimentary rocks.
Particle Size

Rock Name

Rock Characteristics

mud
(see below)

Shale

smooth feel, layered appearance

mud
(mud sized particles:
< 0.063 mm)

Mudstone

smooth feel, massive to layer

silt
(silt sized particles:
0.063 - 0.004 mm)

Siltstone

slightly gritty feel, may have
layered appearance

sand
(sand-sized particles:
0.0625-2.0 mm)

Sandstone

granules, pebbles,
cobbles, boulders
(granule to boulder
sized particles:
2 mm - > 256 mm)

Conglomerate

large rounded fragments composed of older rock
materials

granules, pebbles,
cobbles, boulders
(granule to boulder sized
particles:
2 mm - > 256 mm)

Breccia

large angular fragments composed of
older rock materials

rough gritty feel, constituent grains clearly visible,
including quartz, feldspar, other minerals, and rock
fragments.

Characteristics of common non-clastic sedimentary rocks that will not react with dilute HCl.

Grain size

very fine
grained:
can't see
constituent
particles with
naked eye

variable grain
size

Rock Name

Rock Characteristics

Chert

hard, scratches glass,
typically white, green, or
red; tends to have
conchoidal fracture

Rock Gypsum

soft, can be scratched with
fingernail;
may be translucent or
opaque

Characteristics of common non-clastic sedimentary rocks that will react with dilute HCl.
Grain Size

Rock Name

Rock Characteristics

very fine grained, can't make
out particles with naked eye

Chalk

Pure white, powdery, light-weight, will write on
sidewalks or walls

variable in grain size

Limestone

dense and soft, with a crystalline
or dull (earthy) luster

medium grained, particles
commonly visible with naked
eye

Coquina

fragments of fossils, usually
shells of invertebrates

Fossil Limestone

dense and soft, may be
crystalline or dull, with visible fossils, such as
snail or
clam shells or other taxa

variable in grain size

Sedimentary Rock

Review Of Sedimentary Processes
This chart is a review of the various steps involved in the
formation of sedimentary rocks that have been discussed
above.

Landforms Associated with
Sedimentary Rocks
Mesa
• Flat-topped hill capped
with hard rock
Cuesta
• Gently-tilted layer of
hard rock: Door
Peninsula
• The gentle upper slope,
on top of the layer is
called the dip slope
Hogback
• A sharp ridge of hard
rock, edge of a steeplydipping layer

Mesas, Utah

Grandfather Bluff, Wisconsin

Cuestas, Wyoming

A Hogback, Wyoming

Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado

Garden of the Gods, Colorado