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An Introduction to the Origin of
Sedimentary Rocks

Maurice E. Tucker
BSc, PhD, FGS, CGeol
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Durham


SEDIMENTARY PETROLOGY An Introduction to the Origin of Sedimentary Rocks .


PhD. CGeol Department of Geological Sciences University of Durham THIRD EDITION .SEDIMENTARY PETROLOGY An Introduction to the Origin of Sedimentary Rocks Maurice E. Tucker BSc. FGS.

350 Main Street 75006 Paris. 1986. 1985. Carlton stored in a retrieval system. 1984.5 — dc21 2001025550 Printed and bound in Great Britain at the Alden Press. USA 54 University Street. Tucker. For further information on Reprinted 1982. 1994 (twice). Rocks. — 3rd ed. Manitoba R3J 3T2 MG Kodenmacho Building (Orders: Tel: 204 837 2987) ISBN 0-632-05735-1 7–10 Kodenmacho Nihombashi Australia Chuo-ku. Edinburgh EH3 6AJ Fax: 01235 465555) 350 Main Street. Germany A catalogue record for this title is 324 Saulteaux Crescent available from the British Library Blackwell Science KK Winnipeg. registered at the United Kingdom Trade Marks Registry . references and index. visit our website: 1987 p. London WC1N 2BS Patents Act 1988. No part of this MA 02148-5018. USA publication may be reproduced. 2001 by The right of the Author to be distributors Blackwell Science Ltd identified as the Author of this Work Marston Book Services Ltd Editorial Offices: has been asserted in accordance PO Box 269 Osney Mead. Malden All rights reserved. Sedimentary. 1999 ISBN 0-632-05735-1 (pbk. cm. Maurice E. www. Set by Best-set Typesetter Ltd. Designs and Patents 781 388 8250 Blackwell Wissenschafts-Verlag Act 1988. I. in any form or by any Commerce Place 10. Designs and Abingdon. 1995. Oxon OX14 4YN 25 John Street. Title. State Avenue Tucker.) Third edition 2001 1. except as permitted by the (Orders: Tel: 800 759 6102 Other Editorial Offices: UK Copyright. MA 02148-5018 otherwise..To Vivienne (again) © 1981. Australia transmitted. France photocopying. or Blackwell Science. Oxford OX2 0EL with the Copyright. mechanical. rue Casimir Delavigne means. Iowa 50014-8300.blackwell-science. (Orders: Tel: 3 9347 0300 Ames. (Orders: Tel: 01235 465500 23 Ainslie Place. 1998. 1996. electronic. USA Sedimentary petrology : an Fax: 3 9347 5001) introduction to the origin of First published 1981 sedimentary rocks / Maurice E. without the prior Fax: 781 388 8255) GmbH permission of the copyright owner.T827 2001 Kong 552¢. Victoria 3053 2121 S. Oxford and Northampton The Blackwell Science logo is a trade mark of Blackwell Science Ltd. recording or Malden. 1991. Blackwell Science. Inc. Victoria 3053. Hong Second edition 1991 Includes bibliographical Reprinted 1992. Canada Kurfürstendamm 57 Login Brothers Book Company 10707 Berlin. Tokyo 104. Japan Library of Congress Blackwell Science Pty Ltd Iowa State University Press Cataloging-in-Publication Data 54 University Street A Blackwell Science Company Carlton.

200 v . 1 facies. 53 6.1 Introduction. 194 3.4 Mineral constituents of mudrocks.7 Petrography and origin of principal sandstone 6. 11 5. vii 4.6 Diagenesis of clay minerals and mudrocks.4 Bioclastic and pebble-bed phosphorites.3 Ancient organic deposits.7 Carbonate diagenesis.1 Introduction.11 Depositional environments of sandstones and ironstones.3 The formation of the principal iron minerals. 110 8. 11 5. 1 4. 199 4.10 Carbonate depositional environments and 1. 111 8.1 Introduction. 103 198 4 Limestones. 182 types. 192 6. 178 2.2 Textures and structures of mudrocks.6 Evaporite sequences and discussion. 110 8 Coal. 2. 55 minerals.3 The colour of mudrocks. viii 4. 186 2.1 Introduction. 174 2. 50 6.6 Bog iron ores. 40 5.5 Detrital components of siliciclastic sediments. oil shale and petroleum. 130 4.5 Evaporite dissolution and replacement. 199 4. 134 Preface to the first edition.9 Sandstone diagenesis. 151 methodology. and 3 Siliciclastic sediments II: mudrocks. 62 6. 146 1 Introduction: basic concepts and 4. 102 197 3.5 The formation and distribution of clay minerals 7. 96 7. 42 6 Sedimentary iron deposits. 151 1. 199 4.4 Classification of limestones.5 Guano and ocean-island phosphorites. 166 2 Siliciclastic sediments I: sandstones. 11 176 2.7 Mudrocks and their depositional environments. 194 3.2 Gypsum and anhydrite.10 Porosity and permeability. 194 3. 7.5 Precambrian iron-formations and Phanerozoic 2. 3.4 Other evaporite minerals and their occurrence.1 Introduction.6 Classification of siliciclastic sediments. 182 2.2 Sediment texture. 48 6. 194 in modern sediments. 178 2. 169 conglomerates and breccias.2 Modern organic deposits. 166 5.3 Halite.1 Introduction. 130 Preface to the second edition. 5. 92 3.9 Porosity in carbonate sediments.7 Ferromanganese nodules and crusts. 92 7 Sedimentary phosphate deposits.1 Introduction.8 Dolomitization. 6 5 Evaporites. 65 6.1 Introduction.3 Components of limestones. 111 8.3 Methodology. 99 7.8 Sandstone composition. 2.5 Limestone grain size and texture. Contents Preface to the third edition.2 Basic concepts. 192 3. ix 4.3 Sedimentary structures.2 Source and transportation of iron. 92 metalliferous sediments. 21 5. provenance and 183 tectonic setting. 97 7.4 Palaeocurrent analysis. 1 1. 189 coarser clastics.4 Occurrence and petrography of the iron 2.2 Mineralogy of carbonate sediments. 128 4. 182 2.3 Nodular and bedded phosphorites.6 Sedimentary structures of limestones.2 Mineralogy. dedolomitization and silicification.

205 10. 119 .7 Occurrence of coal.6 Coal formation and rank. 118 and p. 231 9.2 Chert petrology. 222 8.9 Formation of kerogen. 207 10.4 Pyroclastic-flow and -surge deposits.8 Oil shales. 228 9. 219 Colour plates fall between p. 207 226 10.1 Introduction. 212 9.5 Coal petrology.1 Introduction.7 Diagenesis of volcaniclastic sediments.3 Pyroclastic-fall deposits. 8. 221 8. 228 9 Cherts and siliceous sediments. 204 10. 218 Index. 212 10.4 Nodular cherts. 223 8. 224 8.5 Hydroclastites: hyaloclastites and hyalotuffs.2 Autoclastic Contents 8. 251 9.3 Bedded cherts. 221 8.5 Non-marine siliceous sediments and cherts. 212 References. 200 10 Volcaniclastic sediments.10 Petroleum. 212 9.6 Epiclastic volcanogenic deposits. 206 10.4 Coals and the coal series. 202 10.

and 1980s cited in the last edition have been removed This author derives enormous pleasure from and replaced by 1990s and 2000 references. in Stuart Jones for reading parts of the text. In the next 10 support. Rob Raiswell and genesis to relative changes in sea-level. and enduring students with that basic knowledge. tell. and puzzling literature through these. Much emphasis in the last over their origin. textures. and will enjoy learning about these fascinating sedimentary cycles and their stacking patterns. understanding. seeing them in the field. a proper understanding of the com. thanks to tary rocks is essential. relating depositional environments. lecturers who use this book in their classes for reviews position. In and I have amended the text where necessary and addition several tables are included to help with the added recent references to take this into account. As always. description and interpretation of sandstones and Many very useful scientific papers from the 1970s limestones. should be able to find their way into the modern looking at them down the microscope. February 2001 vii . and also to all this work. Preface to the third edition The time has come for another revision of this book. In To help with the petrographic side of sedimentary the 10 years since the second edition. this book aims to provide Vivienne for patience. and rocks. years the sequence stratigraphic approach may go out of fashion or be replaced by some other paradigm. and suggestions for this edition. there has been an studies. Maurice Tucker it will still be essential to know how to describe and Durham interpret sediment. facies and dia. I hope the reader can also appreciate 10 years in soft-rock research has been in the area the excitement of sediments and the stories they can of sequence stratigraphy. students studying sedimentary rocks. However. recognizing key surfaces. this edition includes 74 colour photomicro- enormous amount of material published on sediments graphs of sedimentary rocks in thin-section. I am grateful to Alison Jones. structures and origins of sedimen.

The re. pet. as well as subsurface. erroneous interpretations and correlations. course professors in the the text and references. there is still much controversy and few new ideas have sedimentary rocks. stratigraphy. Vivienne for her inexhaustible support and for typing views of the book by sed. Descriptions of specific exam. ples are not given. The book has ex. an understanding and consideration of the bigger in the new double-column format. A and Z (Fig. controls (tectonics versus eustatic sea-level changes) panded in text and figures by about 30% throughout. but there are new ways of looking at evolution. I am most grateful to Karen this time. and many of the original photomicrographs are a little However. critical factors in hydrocarbon exploration. however. and to provide a predictive tool in frontier basins. to help elucidate the larger-scale come forward in the last 10 years. at the level at which ment’s depositional and diagenetic history is essential this book is written. to George Maurice Tucker Randall and Ron Lambert for thin sections and Emmie Durham Williamson at Blackwells for handling the manu. In fact. there have been advances in 1980s papers. to Gerry Dresser for the new photomicrographs. March 1991 viii .39) are to be early eighties and in the last year proved very useful thanked for being a great help rather than a hindrance indeed in the revision. new terms and interpretations have come in and The last few years have seen the concepts of sequence more recent references to the literature are required. Peter Balson and Mic script and proofs so efficiently. so that a new edition is now required to branch of the earth sciences. and for helping with the references too. derived from seismic stratigraphy. our understanding of many aspects of sedimentary Sedimentary petrology is still a most important petrology. The deposi. As ever. but simply noted. deposition of the sedimentary rocks themselves are tional environments and facies sections of several essential to the sequence stratigraphy approach. I must thank Jones for comments on the original chapters. 2. Many of Acknowledgements for the second edition I am indebted to John Aggett. there are areas of the subject where plied more and more to surface. ap- As to be expected. rocks. if chapters have been enlarged a little too. Preface to the second edition In the 10 years that have passed since the first edition of the references in the first edition have been replaced by this book was published. A knowledge of a sedi- bring the book up to date. to make the the latter is not to give misleading information and book more complete. much of the original material is for an understanding of facies geometry and porosity still correct. Atkinson for drafting the new figures.

important papers. etc. many texts have been published dealing more with the Acknowledgements Many friends and colleagues have willingly read early efforts in printing the photographs. In recent years. and for keeping the little horrors of Fig. Good recent advances. depositional environments and facies of sediments. Sales of Newcastle January 1981 University’s Photographic Department for all her ix . I am particularly grateful to Hugh Battey. The advent of sophisticated instruments. and many essential minerals and topic written many years ago. All the references cited in this book This book attempts to present a concise. forward have come from research on modern sedi. ogy—goes back to the last century and beyond. Preface to the first edition The study of sedimentary rocks—sedimentary petrol. My deepest grati- drafts of chapters and made very valuable and useful tude must go to my wife. Colin quiet during the day. Duncan Murchison. diagenesis. environments and facies. Trevor Elliott. sedimentary structures. By and large. and reviews. I should also thank the many people (acknowledged in the text) who have Maurice Tucker supplied specimens. Mic Jones. libraries. there is still much that can be done review papers of course do cite the early literature so just with a hammer in the field and simple microscope that the keen student can soon delve back and locate in the laboratory and a pair of sharp eyes. It is with less attention being given to features of the rocks only in the past few decades. Vivienne. Andrew plaint. Students require up-to- raw materials are contained in these rocks.. for giving up so Colin Braithwaite. In spite of date information. 2.40 Parker. the donkey-work (typing. with discussions of composition. for doing much of comments. Alastair Robertson.). Scrutton and Bruce Sellwood. and depositional ments and material from shallow and deep bore-holes. the latest ideas. Many of the latest steps turn. etc. examining each rock group in which these rocks are formed. however. has also been important. John many evenings and weekends without too much com- Hemingway. up-to-date should be readily available in university and institute account of sedimentary petrology. This book approaches the subject from begun to understand and appreciate the processes by the other direction. Some of dents in mind. petrography. Paul Bridges. Because of this. Tim Pharoah. references to the litera- the impetus for investigating sedimentary rocks has ture have been critically chosen. photographs or thin-sections for Durham text figures. I am indebted to Mrs K. that we have themselves. such as the This book has been written with undergraduate stu- electron microscope. students come from their economic importance: the fossil fuels do not want (or need) to consult original papers on a coal and petroleum.


takes rocks contain the record of life on Earth. physical processes. how. many rock types in sedimentary sequences of course. The study of these modern environ.2.1 Introduction graphic correlation in the Phanerozoic. for which there are no known modern analogues. many other essential raw materials. The conglomerates and breccias. Sedimentary environments vary from those where duced from studies of sedimentary rocks. coal. biochemical and organic origin are the lime- paction. Each of these various sed- to a suitable reservoir. in the form of place in continental areas. Volcaniclastic deposits minerals and materials contained within them. and these include the familiar sand- 1. There are some sedimentary rock types. posited in the whole range of natural environments chemical and biological processes.2. Sedimentary rocks are formed through physical. Some 70% of the rocks at the Earth’s surface are sedi- mentary in origin. not least because of the wealth of economic 5) and ironstones (Chapter 6). discussed in Chapters 2 processes of diagenesis. that is. and the less common but equally well-known salt deposits. building materials and many. coal and 1. On the basis of the that exist today. referred to as terrigenous or epiclastic deposits) are ever. potash. which may be altered to dolomite (Chapter 4). Sedimentary rocks supply much presented in Table 1. Most weathering and erosion. Sedimentological grade laterally or vertically into others through inter- and petrological techniques are increasingly used in mediate lithologies. chemical and 3 belong to this group. the basis of composition.2.1 Introduction: basic concepts and methodology fossils. and these are the principal means of strati- 1. standing of the Earth’s geological history. mostly a porous sedimentary imentary rock types can be divided further. Such studies erosion and transportation dominate to those where contribute much towards a knowledge and under. is also contained with. In addition. ironstones.2 Sedimentary environments and facies Environments and processes of deposition and palaeogeography and palaeoclimatology can all be de. A scheme to help with the identifi- the search for new reserves of these fuels and other cation and description of sedimentary rock types is natural resources. recrystallization and other stones. genic. those consisting of fragments (clasts) of pre-existing or their inferred depositional environments are only rocks. Sedimentary liberating sediment grains and ions in solution. The (Chapter 10) constitute a fourth category and consist fossil fuels oil and gas are derived from the maturation of lava and rock fragments derived from penecontem- of organic matter in sediments and these then migrate poraneous volcanic activity. The siliciclastic sediments (also lents. usually on rock. which have been transported and deposited by poorly represented at the present time. and form phosphate deposits (Chapter 7). dominant process(es) operating. local geology 1 . Sedimentary rocks of the geological record were de. cementation. physical. deposition prevails. Once deposited. limestones and shales. 1. modifications to the original sediment. Sediments largely of bio- and biological processes which bring about com. coal and oil shale rocks. The other fossil fuel.1).2 Basic concepts stones. and climate. (Chapter 8) and cherts (Chapter 9). Sedimentary rocks There are many reasons for studying sedimentary largely of chemical origin are the evaporites (Chapter rocks. of the world’s iron. the common sedi- ments and their sediments and processes contributes ment lithologies can be grouped into four broad cate- much to the understanding of their ancient equiva. salt. sediments are subjected to the sandstones and mudrocks. gories (Table 1.1 Classification of sedimentary rocks chert.

coal and oil shale hyaloclastites Table 1. and open marine environments. . mudstone or boundstone? Is it a dolomite (dolomitized limestone. biochemical and Siliciclastic sediments organic sediments Chemical sediments Volcaniclastic sediments conglomerates and breccias. There may be several alternatives. replacement. is it fissile (a shale) or not (mudstone)? Any nodules present? Composition? Is it a conglomerate? Determine whether monomictic or polymictic (from clast composition). litharenite. feldspar. involving the whole range of aeolian sand seas of deserts. occurring in iron minerals. Comment on the rock’s diagenesis: cementation. poorly preserved fossils and structures. tidal flats. If there is enough evidence. evaporites. arkose or greywacke (the four common types)? Is it a limestone (fizzes with acid)? —made of bioclasts (fossils). Most shoreline environ. pelagic. compaction. hemipelagic and turbidite sedimentation. are ronments are fluvial and glacial systems. sedimentary structures and fossils and then identify the sedimentary rock type. ignimbrites. composition. beaches distinctive characteristics. and near-surface versus burial diagenetic effects and topography control the type and amount of mate. etc. Many of these sediments possess ments. dissolved. is it a quartz arenite. The colour is usually a reflection of the organic content (grey to black with increasing organic matter) and oxidation state of iron: ferrous iron.2 Chapter 1 Table 1. broken. fizzes little)? —crystalline. nodules. The main continental depositional envi. packstone. rock fragments.2 Scheme for the identification and description of sedimentary rocks in hand specimen Examine the rock for colour.1 Principal groups of sedimentary rock Biogenic. chlorite) and iron minerals (such as berthierine–chamosite) gives a green colour. etc. orthoconglomerate or paraconglomerate (from texture) Less common sedimentary rock types are evaporites (may be salty or soft). lakes and the areas of net deposition.g. Also look for the preservation of the fossils (shells articulated. bored. shelves and epeiric seas. cherts. give an interpretation of the depositional environment and diagenesis of the sediment Colour It should be easy to describe the colour. oolitic) Sedimentary structures Look for structures such as bedding. ferric iron. ooids. which can be used to recog- and barriers. texture. mudrocks phosphates. etc. Fossils If present (a hand-lens may be needed to see them) try and identify them to phylum level (further if you can). stylolites. is it well or poorly sorted? Look for the nature of the contacts between the grains (if visible). Some sedimentary minerals may have a particular colour. shallow nize their equivalents in the geological record. sabkhas.) Interpretation From all the evidence gathered. deltas. sole structures. occurring in clay minerals (e. lagoons. such as the white of pure anhydrite and gypsum Texture Determine the grain size of the rock with a hand-lens. peloids. cherts (hard and splintery) and ironstones (red or green. wackestone. is it a grainstone. sediment lithologies. cross-bedding. look at the grain shape: rounded or angular? Look at the grain sorting. If so.. pale brown–buff colour Is it a mudrock? If so. ironstones e. limestones (and dolomites). parting lineation. cross-lamination. tuffs and sandstones. lamination. suggest a rock type and possibly depositional environment. and bathyal–abyssal sites of rial released. If so. and for any preferred orientation of the grains (fabric) Composition Identify the composition of the sediment using a hand-lens Is it sandstone? —made of quartz.g. burrows. gives red (in hematite) and yellow–brown colours (in goethite–limonite). heavy.

commonly much deformed. (b) the depositional process of sedimentary fill. whether it is. whereas biofacies rely on palaeontological differ. characteristic lithologies. and sedimentation. composition (lithology).g. ites. a stable craton. A facies is the product of de. Water depth.g. given in Table 1. supply is important in so far as low rates favour lime- tidal currents and storm currents. Rates and so form facies associations or facies assemblages. 1. cross. and there is a strong palaeolatitu- dinal control on some rock types (Fig. Each basin has a particular pattern bedded sandstone facies). occur in pretative. (b) sion and strongly affects the composition of terrige- the depositional environment. and oil shale. water flows such as turbidity currents and debris High levels of organic productivity are important in flows. Sediment cesses including the wind. flowing water as in streams. back-arc basin or rift. fossil content and colour. level of seismic activity and Repetitions of facies sequences are common and give occurrence of volcanoes are also dependent on the rise to small-scale cycles a few metres thick. Environments are Facies defined on physical. Climate is instrumental in the and (d) the climate. and it may be characteristic of a particular tial) and pH (acidity–alkalinity) of surface waters depositional environment. evaporite. waves. The deposits of many an- ronment (e. cherts. formation of some lithologies. degree of agitation and their stratigraphic relationships elucidated. Features used to separate facies are sediment precipitation. A facies is a body or ous environments and these affect and control the or- packet of sedimentary rock with features that distin. mines the depositional setting. non-deposition or scribed and identified (the theme of this book). grain size. Some depositional processes are typical of a particular environment. and microfacies if microscope studies are used ple. once they have been de. phosphate and ironstone formation.g. of subsidence and uplift. There have to distinguish between rocks that in the field appear been many studies in recent years of modern and an- similar (often the case with limestones). Two other Depositional processes and environments factors controlled by climate and tectonic context are Sediments can be deposited by a wide range of pro. texture. for example. whereas others operate Another major factor affecting sedimentary facies is . This is of paramount importance because it deter- ences. unequivocal.1). subfacies can be recog. sedimen- tary structures. Introduction: basic concepts and methodology 3 in several or many environments. deposited.3. Lithofacies Tectonic context are defined on the basis of sedimentary characteristics. phosphates. some with distinctive facies or even (e. With detailed work. sediment supply and organic productivity. There are many factors that control and affect the Climate sediments deposited and determine the sedimentary rock type and facies produced. The depositional processes leave their record in the sediment in the form of sedimentary structures Role of relative sea-level and textures. back-arc/fore-arc basins and and. sediment. evaporites and lime- stones. (c) the tectonic context nous clastic sediments. ters and they can be sites of erosion. Different facies commonly occur together mountain belts. Some tectonic context and are reflected in the sediments cycles develop naturally within the sedimentary envir. the in situ growth of animal skeletons as in reefs the formation of limestones. then the salinity are important physical attributes of subaque- concept of facies is applied. chemical and biological parame- With sedimentary rocks. This is a major factor in subaerial weathering and ero- riding controls are (a) the depositional processes. Chemical factors such as Eh (redox poten- position. hopefully. for exam- nized. onment without any changes in external factors. Only (a) is objective cient passive margins. ganisms living on or in the sediment or forming the guish it from other facies. On a gross scale. sediment + stone. produced by plate collisions. or a particular depositional and pore waters affect organisms and control mineral process. tidal-flat facies). over. ocean floors. Facies can be cient sedimentary basins and the main categories are described in terms of (a) the sediment itself (e. stream-flood facies) and (c) the depositional envi. (b) and (c) are both inter. coal and the direct precipitation of minerals as in evapor.

carbonates. Zechstein.g. The first-order global sea-level curve. Japan. Western Canada) —terrestrial to shallow to deep marine clastics and carbonates Table 1. and. passing to turbidites. this first-order sea-level curve. to a certain extent. Carbonates Tillites fluvial to deep marine 0 20 40 60 0 20 40 (b) late (e. is the result of the opening and closing of the responsible for the formation of depositional se- . hemipelagites and pelagites on ocean floor 60 4 Intracratonic basins (e.4 Chapter 1 Table 1. 108 years tectono-eustasy volcaniclastics (b) intra-oceanic arcs (e. caps. 106 years  rifting and thermal subsidence in-plane stress  eustasy  volcaniclastics Fourth-order.g. Second-order.7) tions in climate causing changes in size of the polar ice.4 The orders of sea-level change and possible 2 Strike-slip/pull-apart basins (e. sedimentary terrigenous influences Fifth-order. the Atlantic and Tethys and closing of Tethys in Meso- pally by climatic and tectonic factors. 104 years processes the global position of sea-level and relative sea-level Iapetus Ocean in Palaeozoic times and the opening of changes. (a) remnant ocean basins (e. development of hydrocarbon source rocks (Fig. 105 years glacio-eustasy. anoxic muds. Mostly filled by alluvial fan. carbonate and evaporite 20 facies 0 Active settings 1 Continental collision-related: Fig. Terrestrial to marine clastic. Delaware. The occurrence of limestones causing change in relative sea-level may be regional (more abundant at times of relative sea-level high- (e. hemipelagites. 107 years Third-order. fluvial and lacustrine facies 40 2 Failed rifts or aulacogens (e. East Africa).1 Palaeolatitude zonation of climate-sensitive deposits. Frequency (number of occurrences) against palaeolatitude. Alpine molasse basins.7. California). There is still much discussion over the mechanism(s) deep-sea fan to fluvial behind global eustasy as a cause of sea-level changes on the scale 3 Subduction-related settings: of 1–10 Myr (second. Aleutians) (i) fore-arc basins —turbidites. 4. carbonate 80 Palaeolatitude platform on passive margin. evaporites (b) foreland basins (e.4). changes in rates of uplift/subsidence and sediment stand) and their primary mineralogy (see Fig.g. although there has been Sequence stratigraphy much discussion over the mechanisms responsible.g. mechanisms. sub-Himalayas.g. opening/closing of oceans and fluctuations in phosphorites and ironstones all broadly correlate with rates of sea-floor spreading causing ocean-basin vol.3 Plate-tectonic classification of sedimentary basins and Coals Evaporites their typical rock types 0 20 40 0 20 40 80 Palaeolatitude Spreading-related or passive settings 60 1 Intracratonic rifts (e.g.g.g. referred to as eustatic (e. Thick 20 successions from deep-sea fan to fluvial 3 Intercontinental rifts: 0 (a) early (e. Atlantic) —fluvial–deltaic. Mediterranean)—sediments variable. clastic shelf. turbidites. or global. Andes) changes of the in-plane stress regime within plates in terms of (i) fore-arc basins —thin to thick successions. the supply). The position of sea-level is determined princi. 40 Michigan). third-order). ume changes).g. Red Sea) —evaporites. fluvial to relative sea-level change has still to be evaluated deep-sea fan and volcaniclastics (ii) back-arc /retro-arc basins—mostly terrestrial facies and First-order.4 & 8. and processes zoic and Cenozoic times. the abundance of dolomites. shown in Figs Second. 8. pelagites.g.g. and the significance of (a) continental margin magmatic arcs (e. (ii) back-arc basins —marine and volcanic third-order relative sea-level changes are 4. varia.4). 1. Benue Trough).g. siliciclastics. tectonics. Various orders of sea-level change can be distinguished (Table 1. Thick successions. Bay of Bengal.

replacement. Introduction: basic concepts and methodology 5 quences.3 Diagenesis repetition of small-scale cycles (parasequences). and if precipitated in sufficient portance of the vertical succession of facies was first quantity then cementation of the sediment results. Diagenetic processes. sequence boundaries). Many attributes of a facies are reflections of the depo. which are a feature of many sedimentary Considerations of sedimentary rocks do not stop with formations. Differences do arise of course. packages of genetically related strata. sandstones and evaporites. to as authigenesis. and within them there is out) of deltas and tidal flats into deeper water. processes and facies.e.2. faces and maximum flooding surfaces.6 number of environments so that similar facies and and 4. These may undergo dissolution and/or be replaced by other models facilitate interpretations of sedimentary for. are generated during such periods of effects of internal and external processes. Familiar ex- time (1–10 Myr). loose sediment. tion and continue until metamorphism takes over. The precipitation of new min- dynamic and a facies model may only relate to a erals within the pore spaces of a sediment is referred particular state of relative sea-level change. fifth- order relative sea-level changes are responsible for the 1. bound by environments that originally were adjacent to each unconformities and their correlative conformities other. their crystal eralized facies models have been proposed to show the fabric changes but the mineralogy is unaltered) or they lateral and vertical relationships between facies. Orbital forcing in the Milankovitch band is Diagenetic processes begin immediately after deposi- a popular but contentious explanation for parase. i. and climatic changes. From studies of modern and ancient sediment or forming a sediment are unstable and dur- sedimentary environments. The stratigraphic record is made up amples of the former are the progradation (building of depositional sequences.9. acting gressive and highstand systems tracts) deposited at on a regional or global scale. 2.86).e. Systems tracts are separated by major factor in facies development. gen. to be told of events after deposition. distinction is made between early diagenetic events. Systematic vertical changes in the nature environmental interpretations. authigenesis and cementation. this quences. External sedimentary facies (the product of lowstand. However. depositional systems are placement of limestone.7). The effects of dissolution and replacement mations and permit predictions of facies distributions are common in limestones. transgressive sur. facies models are just snap. dissolu- facies associations are produced wherever and when. are compaction. providing there were no major breaks in sedi- (i. It is during diagenesis that an indurated rock relative sea-level fall). ing diagenesis they may recrystallize (i. a change (see Fig. that is during dia- gression/relative sea-level rise) or offlap (regression/ genesis. from variations in arising from the mass of the overlying sediment. The formation of dolomite largely takes place by re- shots of an environment. and geometries. and the supply of key surfaces: sequence boundaries. for mentation. specific intervals on the curve of relative sea-level Both of these affect the relative position of sea-level. Facies’: different facies in a vertical succession reflect generally several hundreds of metres thick. processes are again chiefly tectonic movements. changes. A and periodic tectonic subsidence. taking place from sedimentation until shallow burial. and late diagenetic events. There is a whole story of the parasequences reflect long-term onlap (trans. 3. longer-term relative sea-level is produced from an unconsolidated. such as commonly occur in nineteenth century in his ‘Law of the Correlation of mudrocks. form through localized mineral precipita- . and commonly a regular and predictable arrangement of the combing of a river across its floodplain. the nature of causes water to be squeezed out and grains to become the fossil record at the time and climatic and tectonic closer packed. is when reactions are the result of elevated tempera- tions include sedimentary processes (autocyclicity) tures (in excess of 150–200 °C) and/or pressures. minerals.e. as noted above. Fourth. ever a particular environment existed in the geological Compaction is both a physical and chemical process past. The im. recrystallization. but other explana. which provenance (the source of the sediment). Vertical changes in facies result from the example. appreciated by Johannes Walther at the end of the Concretions and nodules. 1–10 m thick. which can be introduced here sitional processes and environment. tion. occurring during deep Facies models burial and subsequent uplift. Some grains and minerals deposited in a considerations. There is a finite but are considered further in later sections (2. especially carbonate ones. Carbonate platforms. trans.

grain size.2 study and the interests of the investigator. The nature of near-surface the statistical analysis of field data is covered in Potter diagenesis very much controls the path of later (burial) & Pettijohn (1977) and Graham (1988). arrangements laboratory can be subjected to statistical tests and (see Fig.and within their lithological context. proach. nificance of the various sedimentary features you see. and also to know how they can be used to of many aspects of the deposition of sedimentary obtain maximum information: what to measure. Sedimentary structures should be described collected can be examined on a macro-. for and global sea-level stand are a fundamental control example. One of the best methods of recording sedimentary rocks is to construct a log of the section. Much early diagenesis relates to sequence mentary rocks is discussed in Tucker (1996). and in rare ture and fossil content (see Table 1. Sedimentary structures are usually described and and permeability. what rocks. original structures are destroyed completely. scription and interpretation of sedimentary structures level fluctuations. for example. grain size.1 In the field its composition. It is rela- potential as a reservoir for oil.3 Methodology to note the size and orientation of structures. diagenesis. micro. can be confirmed and quantified later in the labora- Diagenetic events also affect a sediment’s porosity tory. Samples and 4. colour.2). tures. fossils and any other features. and much diagenesis ties into these bound- diagenetic history and possible economic significance aries too. record this too. the rocks under consider. In the same way that relative sea-level changes to know which are environmentally diagnostic. deposi. can be explained by a sequence stratigraphic ap- tional process and environment. If a palaeocurrent serve and record accurately what you see. what to collect.3. many are related to nanoscale. These days be used to discover a sediment’s mineralogy and geo. log can be drawn up in the field using an appropriate you will soon know what to expect and what to look vertical scale for the sediment thickness and a horizon- for in a certain type of sedimentary rock of particular tal scale for the sediment grain size (for examples see . but climate (arid versus humid) is are explored in Collinson & Thompson (1989) and important at this stage too. In mountainous regions of good exposure. It is obviously important to appreciate the sig- waters and grain dissolution. With out. depending on the objectives of the erating in the environment (see Sections 2. The field study of sedi- events. palaeogeography. these seismic-scale relationships can be observed di- scriptions of similar rocks and facies from other areas. important. measure the thickness of each bed or facies unit. changes. tex- in terms of its composition and texture. both aid of a lens) in terms of composition. A graphic field experience and some background knowledge. With a little measurement can be taken.. rectly. These attributes cases. Data collected in the field or seeking the onlap. note 1. Many The study of sedimentary rocks invariably begins in sedimentary structures can be used for palaeocurrent the field but after that there are several avenues which analysis and these and others reflect the processes op- can be explored.86) that reflect long-term relative sea-level computer analysis. 2. properties that control a sediment’s measured in the field because of their size. The identification of sequence boundaries is also all this information at hand. and potential.4. They can considerably modify a sediment. considerable emphasis is being placed on the larger- chemistry. 2. conditions of deposition.6 Chapter 1 tion. but those on the scale of a quarry or cliff face are easily overlooked. as many vertical and lateral facies patterns ation can be interpreted with regard to origin. downlap. It is important 1. the de- boundaries. Account should be taken of any ex. Sophisticated techniques and machines can grain size or composition. in other instances they may need to be mapped together with their probable modern analogues. So observe on all scales.3. isting literature on the rocks being studied and of de. produced by second. etc. Experiments can be devised to simulate the scale geometric relationships of sedimentary strata. The ions for cementation are derived from pore facies. offlap. gas or water. The study of sedimentary rocks in the field requires Diagenetic processes are important for several rea.6).to third-order sea. the initial identification of the lithology (often with the sons. they can also account for the major diagenetic to photograph. sedimentary struc- The main point about fieldwork is being able to ob. tively easy to see structures in hand specimen or block. 3. Basically.

cutting and polishing a been carried out with the scanning electron micro- surface may reveal sedimentary structures poorly scope (SEM). 1988. Grain sizes of indurated silt. Introduction: basic concepts and methodology 7 Figs 2. and there are several books concerned and MacKenzie and Adams (1994).2 In the laboratory minerals in thin-section see Scholle (1978. some de.5.55. specimens at very high magnifications. sorption spectrophotometry (AAS).2.5) can be studies of mudrocks. 4. 1989. 2. This instrument allows examination of displayed or invisible in the field. For illustrations of sedimentary rocks and 1. of sedimentary rocks. 1988). and effects of local structural trons and causes luminescence. it is tion also can be assessed.2. Different types of shad.31. The proper. For mineral identification in fine-grained sediments Much detailed work is undertaken on thin sections and sedimentary rocks.54. so much care and atten. limestones and evaporites are deduced tailed mapping of small areas could well be required from thin-section studies.68 & 2. in sandstones. X-ray diffraction (XRD) is cut from sedimentary rocks or resin-impregnated widely used. The precise composition of many sedimen- and abbreviations can be used for the sedimentary tary rocks (the sandstones and limestones in particu- structures and fossils (see Graham. fine-grained sedimentary rocks. The SEM is especially useful for enhance the structures. Tucker. With limestones.29 the use of sieves and sedimentation chambers (see Sec. It is becoming apparent that geochemical analyses cyanide helps identify the carbonate minerals present. Many beds are actually are measured from a thin-section or peel using a cali- lenticular. 2. see Fig. which allows them to be classified. (1984) laboratory. Use of a cathodolu- to ascertain the relationships between facies and minoscope. which bombards a rock slice with elec- facies packages.3. features down etching with acid and staining a surface may further to 0.5.g.66. this can be dangerous. The heavy minerals (Section 2. but for a review of the SEM in sedimentary studies. Start. In logging section is moved systematically across the microscope a section. Several hundred grains are identified as the thin- tained of the vertical succession of facies. A great deal can be done with sedimentary rocks in the Adams and MacKenzie (1998). Collinson & lar). Major and of common minerals in a sedimentary rock and with a minor elements are determined mostly by atomic ab- little experience it is not necessary to examine their op.c for an ex- In many cases the interpretation of sedimentary ample and D. such as cherts. with laboratory procedures (see Tucker. is obtained Thompson. the lateral extent and continuity of beds stage. Marshall. inductively cou- tical properties to identify them each time. 1996). graphic logs lies in the immediate picture that is ob. Many aspects of diagenesis likely that a geological map will be at hand. There are a relatively small number ment of deposition and path of diagenesis. Figs 2. Grain shape and orienta- Although in the field study of sedimentary rocks. With limestones. Adams et sand-sized rocks must be taken into account. 3. In recent years. Stains also can be used for feldspars in terrigenous can give useful and vital information on the environ- clastic sediments. rocks are now impregnated routinely with a resin con- taining a dye before they are thin-sectioned (e. Plates 2c & 6d).1). 1 mm can be seen. With unconsolidated sedi. pled plasma optical-emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) .74). 1988). sediment grain-size can be measured through and limestones: see for example. much sedimentological work has ing with a hand specimen. The value of such from microscopic studies by the use of a point counter. cements and overgrowths (see Plate 13b. and the staining of these and details on this technique). Localities need to be visited revealing ‘hidden textures’. especially limestones and shales. and for ments and sedimentary rocks that are readily disaggre. 2. J. acetate analysed in this way (see Hardy & Tucker (1988) for peels are used frequently. observing clay minerals and the cements of sandstones gated. also is useful for identifying organic matter as well as tion should be paid to it.64. and UV fluorescence rocks hinges on the fieldwork. See Trewin (1988) extracted from loose sediment using heavy liquids. In view of the interest in several times. many sedimentary can see at an exposure on a second or third visit. & 4. 1979). it is amazing how many new things you porosity and reservoir potential. Clay minerals in mudrocks are invariably unconsolidated sediments. brated eye-piece graticule. thin-sections with Alizarin Red S and potassium ferri. The back-scattered mode is useful for textural tion 2. can reveal details of complications. ties of the common sedimentary minerals are given in ing can be used for the various lithologies and symbols Table 1.

. then the interpretations in the study of limestone and chert diagenesis (see can begin.2). were formed. where the ef- crystals. nH2O monoclinic colourless–pink — low (-) Berthierine– chamosite Fe32+Al2Si2O10. of the isotopes of such elements as oxygen and carbon. Al2O3.Al)(SiO3)6. 1994). and porosity out experiments to determine the conditions under evolution. Perhaps the best known are those cence (XRF). On the scale of individual grains and involving laboratory channels or flumes. Once the data on the sedimentary rocks under inves- measured with a mass spectrometer. Analysis of fluid the environment and conditions of deposition. Petro- inclusions in calcite. Information on sediment composition and Fairchild et al. etc. 5SiO2. grated with facies and burial history to account for the One further laboratory approach has been to carry patterns of cementation and dissolution. the electron microprobe and laser ablation fects of water flowing over sand have been monitored with ICP-MS are used to determine trace elements on (Section 2. Statistics and computers are being used increasingly . which sedimentary structures. 3H2O monoclinic green planar moderate Aragonite CaCO3 orthorhombic colourless rectilinear moderate Calcite CaCO3 trigonal colourless rhombic low to high Dolomite CaMg(CO3)2 trigonal colourless rhombic low to high Siderite FeCO3 trigonal colourless rhombic low to high Gypsum CaSO4. A consideration dolomite. minerals.3. and the attempts to precipitate areas only a few micrometres across. 2H2O triclinic colourless–yellow planar low (+) Illite KAl2(OH)2[AlSi3(O. is a powerful tool tigation have been gathered.8 Chapter 1 Table 1. 3H2O monoclinic green — moderate Glauconite KMg(Fe. quartz and halite crystals also graphic studies of sandstones can give information on gives much important information on the temperature the geology of the source area (the provenance) and the and salinity of pore waters from which the minerals plate-tectonic setting.OH)10] monoclinic colourless–yellow — low (+) Montmorillonite (MgCa)O. 2H2O monoclinic colourless planar low Anhydrite CaSO4 orthorhombic colourless rectilinear moderate Halite NaCl cubic colourless rectilinear low Collophane Ca10(PO4.5 Optical properties of common minerals in sedimentary rocks as observed with the petrological microscope Mineral Chemical formula Crystal system Colour Cleavage Relief Quartz SiO2 trigonal colourless absent very low (+) Microcline KAlSi3O8 triclinic colourless present low (-) Orthoclase K(Na)AlSi3O8 monoclinic colourless present low (-) Albite Na(Ca)AlSi3O8 triclinic colourless present low (-) Muscovite KAl2(OH)2AlSi3O10 monoclinic colourless planar moderate Biotite K2(Mg. Diagenetic studies can be inte- were precipitated (see Goldstein & Reynolds. (1988) for a review of geochemical microfacies can be combined with field data to deduce techniques in sedimentary studies). grain types.CO3)6F2–3 a mineraloid shades of brown — moderate Pyrite FeS2 cubic opaque — — Hematite Fe2O3 hexagonal opaque — — Magnetite Fe3O4 cubic opaque — — or mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and X-ray fluores.Fe)2(OH)2AlSi3O10 monoclinic brown to green planar moderate Chlorite Mg5(Al.Fe)(OH)8(AlSi)4O10 monoclinic green planar fair Kaolinite Al2O32SiO2.

4.2 — yellow in reflected light aggregates and cubic crystals. and papers is given for further reading on that particu- lar sedimentary rock type. matrix.2 (chalcedony).3 isotropic or weak if bone —organic structure forms ooids. bones. particularly in mudrocks.7 4. megaquartz 9. sedimentary rocks go way back into the last century. ling of sedimentary basin filling and simulation of Reading (1996). 2000).4.4. cement and replacements in limestones. etc. authigenic 6.1)  form grains. 4. At the end of each of the other chap- great contributions to our understanding of the factors ters in this book. Recent for example (see Graham. Allen (1997). microquartz.2 weak weak weak grid-iron twinning simple twinning (Carlsbad) multiple twinning  as detrital crystals. aspects of the subject in more detail than can be given cal analysis.2 weak strong parallel extinction anhedral to euhedral crystals equant to lath-shaped crystals  5. cements and replacements: fibrous quartz 2.4 — red–grey in reflected light cryptocrystalline.2 — may have fluid inclusions often coarsely crystalline 5. . Lindholm (1987) and Tucker (1988).4.3 moderate extreme extreme  can be distinguished by staining (Section 4.1 10.9. 2. detrital 6.3 2.7 weak ooids and mud in ironstones 6.5. Field data also can be subjected to statisti.4 strong strong parallel extinction parallel extinction  common detrital minerals occurring as flakes  2.3 In the library: sedimentological reading petrology include Friedman & Johnson (1982). dolomites.9.3. pellets. a pigment and replacement 6. such as of feldspars and volcanic grains  2.3 weak weak strong moderate  best identified through X-ray diffraction because usually so fine-grained  as detrital minerals. some shells 7. Lewis However good your field and laboratory work is. Quantitative model.3 extreme alters to brown colour fine and coarse crystals in ironstones 6. Books dealing with more practical aspects of sedimentology/sedimentary 1. Miall (1997) and Gradstein et al.4. Mathematical geology is but in fact most advances have come in the past four now an established branch of the earth sciences and decades.4 3.4.2 types). so appearing dusty  2. texts on sedimentary processes include Pye (1994).9.8.5 3. 4. Leeder (1999) and stratigraphic sequences and cycles are also making Nichols (1999).9.5.1. 2. a list of readily accessible textbooks controlling deposition (see review by Paola.3. Introduction: basic concepts and methodology 9 Birefringence Other features Form and occurrence See Section weak as detrital grains (monocrystalline and polycrystalline 2.2.4. also authigenic commonly altered to clays. also as cement (as in sandstones) and replacements.9. 1988). it (1984).1 for the evaluation and interpretation of sedimentolog. Recent must be supported with a knowledge of the literature books on sequence stratigraphy include Emery & on the subject.3 moderate forms synsedimentary grains 6. ical and petrographic data. reference should be made to the available textbooks on There are many textbooks available that cover some this subject. Publications on the petrology of Meyers (1996).5.6 — grey–black in reflected light cryptocrystalline. sandstones. 4. to identify cycles in a succession of facies here or that deal with directly related topics.4.

there are many abstracts. Jour- (2000) and Allen & Allen (2001). . There are several periodicals that regularly their eyes on the current journals for the latest infor. SEPM) and the International Associa. books.10 Chapter 1 (1998). but very relevant sedimentological papers are Geology. indexes and Society of London. some memoirs of available online. Basin analysis. Marine Geology. (AAPG) and special publications of the Geological Finally. In tology and here can be cited the series of special addition there are many other journals that often con- publications of the Society of Sedimentary Geologists tain relevant articles. three principal periodicals are the Journal of Sedi. Maill can Association of Petroleum Geologists. nal of Geology. Bulletin of the Ameri- by Busby & Ingersoll (1995). from which you can search Most research papers. Facies. Increasing numbers of journals are now tion of Sedimentologists (IAS). an important branch of the Others devoted to sediments or containing many earth sciences in its own right now. Bulletin of the to sedimentary studies and vice versa. Interested students should keep tology. Science (Science Citation Index). Palaeoecology and Palaeoclimatology. published. check your library’s website for a list the American Association of Petroleum Geologists of these. The many online databases for locating journal articles. lections of papers on a specific topic within sedimen. and Palaios. respectively. there are now mation and ideas. There are many col. GeoRefS and published by SEPM. is discussed Geological Society of America. Einsele (1990). Books soon go out of date(!). theses and conference proceedings. Palaeogeography. Of par- mentary Research (formerly Journal of Sedimentary ticular interest to sedimentology are the Web of Petrology). a regular perusal of the current (formerly Society of Economic Paleontologists and periodicals in the library will spot these as they are Mineralogists. IAS and Elsevier. Sedimentology and Sedimentary Geology. however. are published in for references on a particular topic within sedimen- the learned journals. GEOBASE. However. cite all published papers. bibliographies available.

silt.2. The Udden–Wentworth grain-size scale divides are their sedimentary structures and textures. of these are produced by the depositional processes. In a broad sense. diagenesis and porosity. In this chapter. the phic and sedimentary rocks. chiefly of quartz and feldspar. A. Sandstones also contain On the basis of its textural attributes. modified and extended by Blair & McPherson (1999) stones also occur in limestones and some of the other to give more detail in the coarser grades. with terms for the classes by C. monolith and megalith are introduced for very large sections are routinely used. slab. Conglomerates are made of grain size and grain-size parameters. are predominant in in order to determine their textural characteristics. be considered in terms of its textural maturity.1. pebbles. leased through mechanical and chemical weathering processes. mudrocks. grain-surface texture and sediment fabric. and these can be of a phology. formed during weathering and con. and subdivides sand whereas others are post-depositional or diagenetic in into five classes and silt into four. the meaning help distinguish the feldspar grains (Section 2. Many sediments into seven grades: clay. ments from different environments have been studied sisting mainly of clay minerals. glaci- ers.5. stones to the coarser-grained conglomerates and brec. Many of the sedimentary structures in sand. Pebble. sections is given in Table 2. through sand. metamor. The sediments are composed largely of grains the sandstones. Source areas generally are upland. the composition tion of sedimentary rocks. conglomerates and breccias cathodoluminescence is useful too (Sections 2. work in Table 2. are discussed in Chapter 3. based on a constant ratio by distance of sediment transport and by diagenetic of two between successive class boundaries together processes. cob- sedimentary rock types. wide variety of rock types. grain mor- mainly of pebbles and boulders. sand.1). river currents. cias. a sediment can rock fragments. Udden.2 and 2. but the majority of the grains are indi. and then transported to the depositional 2. The finer breakdown products of positional process(es). tidal currents. Sediment composition also is affected cepted is that of J. the finer-grained siliciclastic sediments. The basic descriptive element of all sedimentary rocks mountainous regions undergoing uplift. For sediments/sedimentary rocks. mudrocks and form the matrix to some sandstones and this information is used as an aid to the interpreta- and conglomerates.1 Grain size and grain-size parameters the geology of the source area (the provenance of the sediment).2 Sediment texture site by a variety of mechanisms. cobbles and boulders.2 Siliciclastic sediments I: sandstones. texture. determined largely by the climate and 2. but detritus is the grain size. Therefore many modern sedi- the original rocks. Wentworth (Table Two important features of siliciclastic sediments 2. abraded texture of a clastic rock is a reflection largely of the de- to various degrees.5. including wind.3). A scheme for describing sandstones from thin- Siliciclastic sediments are a diverse group of rocks. conglomerates and breccias. debris flows Studies of sediment texture involve considerations and turbidity currents. the coarser siliciclastic sediments. are (clasts) derived from pre-existing igneous.1 Introduction 4. waves. A number of grain-size scales have also may be supplied from erosion in lowland and been proposed. K. granules.3) and of the terms sand/sandstone. The vidual crystals. composition. silt/siltstone and clay/ 11 . For studies of sandstone ble and boulder classes are subdivided and block.2. Staining a section can clasts. thin. The clastic grains are re. of siliciclastic sediments is a reflection of the weather- ing processes. but one which is widely used and ac- coastal areas. This scale has been origin. and notes for microscope ranging from fine-grained mudrocks. treated.

e. fabric (any preferred orientation of grains?) and intervals. feldspar.g. quartz.3). equal to the negative of phi. about 30 g. Rudite or rudaceous frequency curve and cumulative frequency curve are rock is used for indurated gravels/megagravels. sorting and skewness. class intervals in the sand field are taken at quarter-phi grain shape. large fossils or grains matical calculations much easier. For all seri- ous work involving sediment grain size the phi scale is Thin-section Check the macroscopic features of the thin-section by holding up used because it has the advantage of making mathe- to light and noting any lamination. has little geological significance. broken/bent mica flakes or bioclasts available. grain size. 8. For accurate Compaction: look for concavo-convex and sutured grain grain-size analysis. pore-lining.2 & 2. and plotted (Figs 2. technique. distribution. From texture. dolomite. although these usually have sig.e. Medium silt to small pebbles can be accom- Replacement/dissolution of grains: e. Krumbein introduced an arithmetic scale (i. suggest evolution of Once the grain-size distribution has been obtained pore fluids and destruction or creation of porosity in context of then the sediment can be characterized by several burial history parameters: mean grain size. grain shape. etc. feldspar by calcite or clay. arkose can be used for clay to sand grades. determine relative proportions of proximation of the grain size can be made with a hand- quartz. 5) of phi units (f). and Porosity: if present determine origin and type —intergranular. etc. calcite. such as by McManus (1988). 4. coarser sediment still. gravel and mud. and habits —overgrowths. Also used are possible psi units (y). roundness of grains. and mega. Figure 2. For detailed work.1. fracture. or more for the coarser dissolutional. 2. grades. 16).1 gives a origin. where whole grains dissolved out sieving time. The clast size of conglomerates and breccias can alteration and compaction of labile grains be measured directly with a tape measure.12 Chapter 2 Table 2. several laboratory methods are contacts. modated in sieves and it is the practice to use a similar partial to complete dissolution of grains. unconsolidated sands. nature of grain–grain contacts When studying sandstones in the field. A further parameter. arenite or wacke? If arenite. it may have formed from lens. mode. where phi is the logarithmic trans- Note the colour. show the frequency of grains in each size-class and use- For mudrock terminology and sand–silt–clay mix. a first ap- Grains: identify grain types. For graphic presentation. The cumulative . which measure the Classification: from assessment of matrix content. kurto- sis. Syvitski (1991) and Lewis & sedimentary structures and fossils from hand specimen and field data McConchie (1994). sieving is the most popular clays. of around 15 min for all samples. e. 3. fully give an immediate impression of the grain-size tures see Section 3. With poorly cemented sandstones and Cementation: identify cements. thin- maturity sections have to be used. C. 1. 2. An image analysis system con- Diagenesis: determine nature and order of diagenetic events and nected to a microscope can give a grain-size analysis whether near-surface (pre-compaction) or burial (post. to decrease along the abscissa (x-axis) away from the conglomerates and megabreccias. The parameters claystone is obvious. and parameters almost instantly. lithic grains and matrix Matrix: check whether it is detrital. similar weights. look for oversized pores. the Udden– tion is unimodal or bimodal (Fig. smoothed nificant amounts of finer matrix. is sandstone an settling velocity of grains through a column of water. the histogram. and megagravel for data (as in Fig. Hand specimen 4. lamination and any other sedimentary structures. It is the practice for grain size includes the conglomerates and breccias.g. assess the siltstones and sandstones (and limestones). particularly as to whether the distribu- Using millimetres as the units.1 Scheme for petrographic description of sandstones Wentworth scale is geometric (i. compaction) on basis of textural evidence. median grain size. Determine composition/mineralogy of grains and cements if where d is the grain size in millimetres. 2. 2. For well-cemented or litharenite) from grain composition. The histogram and smoothed frequency curve classification for mixtures of sand. with several hundred grain Interpretation sizes measured using an eyepiece graticule and point- Depositional environment: suggest from texture and counter. Gravel is applied to loose sedi. assess type (quartz arenite. Reviews of these techniques are given composition. Sedimentation methods. can be calculated from graphic presentation of the ments of granule to boulder grade. 1.3). bedding. pore-filling. Any fossils present? formation of the Udden–Wentworth scale: f = –log2d.2). W. and any other information available. or from a computer program. Texture: determine the grain size. sorting.

then the median. that is an aver- cumulative frequencies it is best to use semilog proba. dissolution. From the cumulative frequency abundant class. greywacke — lithic/feldspathic/quartzitic Depositional environment Marine/non-marine. Most sediments are unimodal. age value taking into account the grain sizes at the bility graph paper. hematite. fracture. rich conglomerates. quartz arenite. 16th.e. clays. etc. dolomite. fluvial/aeolian. calcite. i. Gaussian. Fig. n% of the sample is coarser than that grain grain-size distribution is perfectly normal and sym- size. The mode is the phi tribution is normal. Sandstone type Arenite/wacke. conglomerates and breccias 13 Table 2. fabric. mouldic.10). polymodal sediments are not uncommon (matrix- centage frequencies (percentiles). which gives a straight line if the dis. plot. simply the grain size at 50%. cement geometry and timing Replacements Alteration. stylolitic.4 the same. concavo-convex and sutured contacts. preferred orientation of grains Cements Quartz.2 Scheme for describing sandstones in thin-section Features Thin-section 1 Thin-section 2 Grains present and percentage Quartz (types) Feldspar (types) Lithic grains (types) Mica (types) Bioclasts (types) Others Texture Roundness. metrical. as generally is the (or millimetre) value of the mid-point of the most case with sediments. for example. one class dominates. Trends in grain size over large areas can be used to . calcite and clays replacing grains Evidence of compaction Broken and squashed grains. and are used with grain size measured in phi. 2. feldspar preservation. When plotting is not as useful as the mean grain size. the grain sizes that correspond to particular per.e. 50th and 84th percentiles. the percentiles of the distribution are obtained. Where a centile. grains coarser than a particular value. anhydrite. so that at the nth per. litharenite. arkose. low/high energy Order of diagenetic events 1: 2: 3: frequency curve shows the percentage frequency of The median grain size. stylolites Porosity Intergranular — reduced/enhanced. Siliciclastic sediments I: sandstones. but bimodal (Fig. i. mean and mode values are The grain-size parameters are defined in Table 2. sorting.e. packing.2) and even i. shallow/deep. 2.

1 0 c Sorting is a measure of the standard deviation.50 1 sand m sand sandstone spread of the grain-size distribution. In the fluvial environment.35–0. rather than abrasion (Hoey & Bluck. the offshore de- 2048 –11 c boulder crease in grain size relates to a decrease in wave and 1024 –10 m current energy as the water depth increases. Rice. infer the direction of sediment dispersal. 1999. Such down- Sediment/ current changes occur in fluvial and deltaic systems. From shorelines across shelves. for ex- 16 –4 pebble m ample. 512 –9 f With conglomerates. it is useful to measure the 256 –8 c gravel maximum clast size.031 5 m silt describe the sorting values obtained from the Folk 0.008 7 vf f less than 0. along with the bed thickness.063 4 c separating grains of different classes. mudflow and stream-flood conglomerates 8 –3 f generally show a positive correlation between maxi- 4 –2 granule mum pebble size and bed thickness.25 2 f most useful parameters because it gives an indication 0.14 Chapter 2 Table 2.e.71 moderately well sorted Gravel/ Conglomerate Conglomerate 80 Muddy conglomerate Sandy conglomerate ) (% Sandy el Muddy av muddy sandy Gr conglomerate conglomerate 30 Gravelly sandstone Gravelly Gravelly Gravelly mudrock sandy muddy mudrock mudrock 5 Fig. 0. It is one of the 0. . 1999). as 128 –7 cobble conglomerate f the relationship between these two parameters does 64 –6 vc vary with the depositional process. decrease mostly relates to selective sediment trans- φ block conglomerate port. with grain After Udden and Wentworth. 2.125 3 vf of the effectiveness of the depositional medium in 0.1 Scheme for classifying Mudrock Sandstone sand–gravel–mud mixtures and the terms Mud/ 10 50 90 Sand/ Mudrock Sandstone for sediment and rock (after Sand (%) Sandy Muddy Udden–Wentworth and Blair & mudrock sandstone McPherson. 4096 –12 vc 1999). Length (mm) Class and in turbidites in deep-sea basins.015 6 silt f siltstone & Ward (1957) formula are: 0. and Blair & McPherson (1999) size decreasing away from the source area. Sediment-size rock name mega.50 well sorted clay claystone 0.004 8 clay 0.35 very well sorted 0.3 Grain-size scale for sediments and sedimentary rocks.50–0. Terms used to 0. i. chiefly the compe- 32 –5 c tence of the flow. whereas braided 2 –1 vc stream conglomerates do not.

2. using Folk & Ward’s Skewness Sk = + 2(f 84 – f16 ) 2(f 95 – f5 ) (1957) formulae of Table 2.05φ 3–4 220 44 92 95 mean 2.96 (a) 60 50 50 50 40 40 40 30 Frequency (%) 30 30 20 20 10 20 5 10 10 2 0 0 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 –1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Grain size (phi units) .2 Smoothed frequency distribution curves showing types nth percentage frequency of sorting and skewness. conglomerates and breccias 15 Poorly sorted Positive or fine skew 0. 100 (b) (c) Grain size parameters Class Freq. 2.21 (coarse 80 skew) 60 70 kurtosis 0. when the sedi- ments appear to be more poorly sorted than they actu- ally are. Siliciclastic sediments I: sandstones. 2.00 very poorly sorted With thin-sections of sandstones (and limestones) Well-sorted Symmetrical there is a problem of apparent sorting. derived graphically.71–1.00–2. Cum.4. presented f 84 – f16 f 95 – f5 Sorting sf = + as a histogram (a).92 (moderately 2–3 160 32 48 90 sorted) 1–2 60 12 16 0–1 20 4 4 70 skewness –0. Reviewing published comparators. Jerram (2000) has developed additional.3 An example of the graphic presentation of grain-size data (500 grain-size measurements from a sandstone). Freq. and cumulative frequency curves plotted with 4 6.95φ 80 sorting 0.00 poorly sorted greater than 2.4 Formulae for the calculation of grain-size parameters Decreasing Coarser Finer grain size from a graphic presentation of the data in a cumulative frequency plot. geologically more Frequency realistic two-dimensional and new three-dimensional Bimodal Negative or visual comparators based on computer-generated distribution coarse skew three-dimensional distributions of spheres (Fig. The percentile measure fn is the grain size in phi units at the Fig. Parameter Folk & Ward (1957) formula Median Md = f50 f16 + f50 + f 84 Mean M= 3 Fig. % freq. 98 90 Folk and Ward formulae 4–5 40 8 100 median 3.00 moderately sorted 1. Also given are f16 + f 84 – 2f50 f5 + f 95 – 2f50 the grain-size parameters derived graphically.6 an arithmetic scale (b) and log probability scale (c). Table 2.4).

are generally poorly sorted.10 to –0. excess coarse material. the grain sizes bution and visually is best seen from the smoothed fre- will be quite different from those of a sediment sup- quency curve (Fig. greater than –0. gravels and conglomer- the skew is positive.2). silts and clays. This is the case with desert sands.30 coarse-skewed flows. low shelf seas. The third factor. which is where sort. Terms for skewness (Sk) derived more poorly sorted than sand-sized sediments. Sediments that were deposited quickly. then the sediment is tor is grain size itself: sorting is dependent on the grain said to be negatively skewed.e.15 well sorted Fig. are much better sorted.30 to +0. First there is the question of the sediment source: Skewness is a measure of the symmetry of the distri- if a granite is providing the sediment. is the depositional +0. The second fac- ‘tail’. such as mud flows. 2. or were deposited from viscous –0. then size in that coarse sediments. 10 fine-skewed mechanism. i.74 Poorly sorted φ = 1.4 Visual comparators for sorting for thin-sections based sediments that have been reworked by the wind or on three-dimensional distributions of spheres that are log-normal water.30 strongly fine-skewed ing is used for interpretation. the sandy deposits of deserts.30 strongly coarse-skewed . where grain size also decreases downwind. ates.67 Moderately sorted φ = 0. beaches and shal- by volume frequency (from Jerram. sorting improves along the sediment transport path. which from the Folk & Ward (1957) formula are: are more easily transported and therefore sorted by wind and water. and fine sediments. +0. If the distribution has a coarse plied by the reworking of a sandstone. generally are then there is no skew.10 to –0.0 Well sorted φ = 0.36 Moderately φ = 0. Generally. 10 near-symmetrical such as storm beds. if there is a fine ‘tail’.16 Chapter 2 3-D dataset Very well sorted φ = 0. for example. for Sorting of the sediment is determined by several fac- example. Sk greater than +0. 2. tors. If the distribution is symmetrical. 2001).

Some coarser plotted on a triangular diagram with the end members sand also is blown into the dunefield.5 and Illenberger. for environmental interpreta- Interpretation and use of grain-size analyses tions. discs. skewness is also a reflection of the depo.2 Grain morphology clay is not removed by the currents. sediment becomes more 1991). the roundness is more significant than sphericity Grain-size analyses are a routine procedure in many or shape. dune and river Compact ex sands. To com. sured by various ratios involving the long (L). but much of the spheres. sitional process. terms of Fig. On this basis. 2. ment or rock and give information on its depositional The morphology of a grain is dependent on many mechanism and depositional environment.6 for roundness are sufficient.6). with blades being intermediate finer sediment (silt) is efficiently blown out of the sys. when there is then a problem of inher- ited characteristics.3 bear in mind are the possibilities of sand being re- worked or supplied from an adjacent or pre-existing Extreme environment.2. River sands are usually positively skewed. but is trapped between larger grains. between the last two (see Fig.33 0. I and S represent the long. inter- ment. several different pro- ment sample. The shape of a grain is mea- because it relates to the effect of wind on a coarse sedi. L. Spheres ing plotted against skewness. negative skew but this is more complicated in origin sphericity and roundness. Scatter diagrams are usually constructed. Points to 0. respectively (after Illenberger. tend to and similar processes do take place in different envi- have a negative skew because finer components are ronments. such as sort. Several formulae have been proposed for the calculation of sphericity and roundness. nature of the source Grain-size analyses can be used to distinguish be. 1991).to medium-grained sand is blown out mediate (I) and short (S) axes. ally distinguished (Fig. rods and matrix also can be infiltrated. Very fine. Sphericity is a measure of how closely the grain negatively skewed (and finer grained) along its sedi. Roundness is con- ment transport path. Grain-size analyses of sandstones alone should nd 0. then on degree of tween sediments of different environments and facies and to give information on the depositional processes and flow conditions. See Syvitski (1991) for papers on this topic. but com- ap bined with studies of sedimentary structures they can Sh Discs Blades Rods be useful in facies description and analysis. but a fine-grained Fig.66 1 may well be depositional and so of consequence to Disc–rod index (L–I)/(L–S) the environmental interpretation. However. because much silt and 2. and for most purposes the simple descriptive sedimentary studies in order to characterize the sedi. 2. tem altogether. a breakdown product blades. Shape is most effectively of the source area to form the dunes. Siliciclastic sediments I: sandstones. Some desert dune sands have a Three aspects of grain morphology are the shape. rock and degree of weathering. carried off by the persistent wave action. whereas the source sediment cerned with the curvature of the corners of a grain and (lag) becomes more positively skewed and relatively six classes from very angular to well rounded are usu- coarse. and where clay-grade material is 0 present there is the problem of its origin. initially the mineralogy. Beach sands. 2. 0. for example. . 2. it is pos. Many studies have attempted to 1 distinguish between the sediments of modern deposi- tional environments using the grain-size distribution. cesses may well have operated in one environment. intermediate plicate the interpretation of grain-size analyses in short axes of the grains. discs and rods. The origin 0 0.5 ei not be used in environmental interpretations. conglomerates and breccias 17 Apart from being a useful descriptive term for a sedi. based on the shape index (a measure of the sphericity) of labile grains and a diagenetic precipitate. terms of depositional process. and the disc–rod index.7 S IL sible to distinguish between beach. In general. shape approaches that of a sphere. factors.5 The four classes of grain shape: spheres.