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Conglomerate

(rudite/rudaceous)

Conglomerate is defined as a clastic sedimentary rock in which at


least 30% of the clasts are of gravel size.
Photo by W. W. Little

Textural Classification

Clast-supported

Matrix-supported

Textural classification is based upon whether or not framework


grains are in contact with one another and reflects the relative
abundance of framework grains to matrix (sand and/or mud).

Clast-supported
Conglomerate

Open-framework

Closed-framework

Clast-supported conglomerates are further subdivided into open- and


closed-framework, depending upon whether the intergranular pore
space is mostly empty or mostly filled with matrix

Matrix-supported
Conglomerate

Matrix-supported conglomerates consist of framework grains


floating in matrix and are often referred to as diamictites.

Ortho- vs.
Paraconglomerate

Orthoconglomerate

Paraconglomerate

A clast-supported conglomerate with less than 15% matrix is referred to


as an orthoconglomerate. A conglomerate with more than 15% matrix
is a paraconglomerate. Most paraconglomerates are diamictites.

Compositional Classification
Oligomict(ic)

Polymict/petromict(ic)

Compositional classification is based upon whether framework


grains are composed of a single (oligomictic) or multiple
(polymictic or petromictic) compositions.

Significance if Matrix

The relative abundance of matrix can be a reflection of the rate or


mode of deposition. Matrix-rich deposits suggest rapid, simultaneous
deposition by aqueous flow (flash flood, debris flow, turbidity flow) or
deposition by a highly viscous fluid (ice). A lack of matrix suggests
winnowing by continuous aqueous fluid flow.

Source Classification

Extrabasinal

Intrabasinal

Source classification is based upon whether the clasts were derived


from without (extraformational/exotic) or within the basin
(intraformational/rip-up). The terms intra- and extra-basinal are also
used to describe these rocks.

Breccia

Breccia is conglomerate in which the majority of clasts are angular


and indicates rapid deposition and burial. Angular gravel is
sometimes referred to as rubble.

Photo by W. W. Little

Significance of Roundness

Clast roundness can be an indicator of relative transport time. Angular


clasts represent rapid burial shortly after sediment production.
Rounded clasts suggest relatively long periods of surface exposure
prior to burial. Because of the longer surface exposure, rounded clasts
tend to have been transported longer distances than angular clasts.
Clast composition also plays a significant role in its rate of rounding.
Photo by W. W. Little

Non-sedimentary Breccias
Solution breccia: groundwater
movement
Tectonic breccia : fault movement
Volcanic breccia: explosive
volcanism
Cataclastic breccia: mass wasting
Collapse breccia: sink hole
Brecciascollapse
are not always indicative of sedimentary processes but can
be produced
in a number
of ways. Nonimpact
depositional breccieas are
Ejecta:
meteorite
typically classified according to the process responsible for their
formation.
Photo by W. W. Little

Provenance of
Conglomerate

The primary control on gravel composition is the source rock.


Because of the large grain size, conglomerates are particularly
useful as provenance indicators.