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1 Introduction to Oceanography Sedimentology and Ocean Basin Topography.

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1 1 Introduction to Oceanography Sedimentology and Ocean Basin Topography

2 1 Ocean sediment includes particles from land, biological activity, chemical processes and space. Ocean sediment is thickest over continental margins and thinnest over active oceanic ridges. Sediment deposited on a quiet seafloor can provide a sequential record of recent events in the water column above. Sediments are recycled into earth at subduction zones. Sediments are an important source of crude oil and natural gas. Historical information Location of natural resources, especially crude oil and natural gas Why study sediments?

3 1 Classification of marine sediments can be based upon size or origin. Size classification divides sediment by grain size into gravel, sand and clay. –Mud is a mixture of silt and clay. Origin classification divides sediment into five categories: Terrigenous sediments, Biogenic sediments, Authigenic sediments, Volcanogenic sediments and Cosmogenic sediments. 4-1 Sediment in the Sea

4 1 Classifying Sediment Sediment can be classified by particle size. Waves and currents generally transport smaller particles farther than larger particles.

5 1 Classifying Sediment Sediment can also be classified according to its source.

6 1 Factors that control sedimentation include particle size and the turbulence of the deposition environment. Terrigenous sediments strongly reflect their source and are transported to the sea by wind, rivers and glaciers. Rate of erosion is important in determining nature of sediments. Average grain size reflects the energy of the depositional environment. Hjulstrom’s Diagram graphs the relationship between particle size and energy for erosion, transportation and deposition. 4-1 Sediment in the Sea

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8 1 Distribution of Sediments The sediment of continental shelves is called neritic sediment, and contains mostly terrigenous material. Sediments of the slope, rise, and deep-ocean floors are pelagic sediments, and contain a greater proportion of biogenous material.

9 1 Shelf sedimentation is strongly controlled by tides, waves and currents, but their influence decreases with depth. Shoreline turbulence prevents small particles from settling and transports them seaward where they are deposited in deeper water. Particle size decreases seaward for recent sediments. Past fluctuations of sea level has stranded coarse sediment (relict sediment) across the shelf including most areas where only fine sediments are deposited today. 4-2

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11 1 Worldwide distribution of recent shelf sediments by composition is strongly related to latitude and climate. Calcareous biogenic sediments dominate tropical shelves. River-supplied sands and muds dominate temperate shelves. Glacial till and ice-rafted sediments dominate polar shelves. 4-2

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13 1 Geologic controls of continental shelf sedimentation must be considered in terms of a time frame. For a time frame up to 1000 years, waves, currents and tides control sedimentation. For a time frame up to 1,000,000 years, sea level lowered by glaciation controlled sedimentation and caused rivers to deposit their sediments at the shelf edge and onto the upper continental slope. For a time frame up to 100,000,000 years, plate tectonics has determined the type of margin that developed and controlled sedimentation. 4-2 Sedimentation in the Ocean

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15 1 Deep-sea Sedimentation has two main sources for sediment: terrigenous material from the land and biogenic and authigenic from the sea. Major sedimentary processes in the deep sea include:, Bulk emplacement, Debris flows, Turbidity currents Major pelagic sediments in the ocean are red clay and biogenic oozes. Authigenic deposits are chemical and biochemical precipitates that form on the sea floor and include ferromanganese nodules and phosphorite. Sedimentation in the Ocean

16 1 Ooze is classified by the type of life form from which it is derived. Calcareous ooze is formed by organisms, such as foraminifera, which contain calcium carbonate in their shells or skeletons. Siliceous ooze is formed by organisms that contain silica in their shells. Diatoms are one type of organism whose remains contribute to siliceous ooze. Hydrogenous sediments are usually the result of chemical reactions. Hydrogenous sediments are often found in the form of nodules containing manganese and iron oxides. Sediments of Deep-Ocean Basins

17 1 Evaporites are precipitates that form as water evaporates or as the conditions in the water change Evaporites include many salts with economic importance. Evaporites currently form in the Gulf of California, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf. Sediments of Deep-Ocean Basins

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19 1 The distribution of sediments in the deep ocean varies greatly, but is strongly controlled by the compensation depth. Surface Deposits are the sediments found exposed on the sea floor. Deep-sea stratigraphy refers to the broad-scale layering of the sediments of the sea floor. It strongly reflects the sediment types deposited as the sea floor 4-2 Sedimentation in the Ocean

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22 1 What differences in the type and distribution of sediments do you note between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean? Distribution Of Sediments

23 1 How do scientists study sediments?  Deep-water cameras  Clamshell samplers  Piston Corers  Core libraries  Seismic profilers Studying Sediments

24 1 One method of studying sediments uses a clamshell sampler. The sampler can be used to obtain a relatively undisturbed sediment sample. Studying Sediments

25 1 One method of obtaining core samples by research vessels such as the JOIDES Resolution is by using a piston corer. The corer allows a cylinder of sediment to be taken for analysis to determine the age of the material, as well as the density, strength, molecular composition and radioactivity of the sediment. Studying Sediments

26 1 An example of drill data Based on data from core samples, scientists have determined the age of portions of the Pacific floor, measured in mega-annums, or millions of years.

27 1 Marine sediments are important as historical records and a site of natural resources. Scientists study marine sediments using many different methods, including core samples. Summary


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