Weathering Sediment becomes smaller, more rounded and more sorted silicate minerals react with water to form clay (a new solid mineral) and dissolved ions (quartz is the exception) Weathering agents: water (most important), wind, gravity, glaciers
Lithification: Turning sediment into sedimentary rock Compaction : wet, buried sediment is squeezed by overlying sediments, causing it to become more solid. Cementation minerals dissolved during the weathering process precipitate and act as a cement, e.g. calcite, silica, and iron oxide.
Sedimentary Rock Classification Based on sediment source Detrital Sedimentary Rocks Chemical Sedimentary Rocks (which includes): –Inorganic Sedimentary Rocks –Biochemical Sedimentary Rocks –Organic Chemical Sedimentary Rocks
Grain size chart for detrital sedimentary rocks Arkose: sandstone has significant feldspar content
Detrital Sedimentary Rocks –composed of solid sediment from weathered rocks – conglomerate, sandstone, shale
Chemical Sedimentary Rocks –Composed of minerals precipitated from surface or ground water (chemical sediment) – rock salt, rock gypsum – Includes biochemical Sedimentary Rocks, composed of sediment of biological origin (e.g. shell fragments) –Most common example is rock salt.
Coal Different from other rocks because it is composed of organic, not mineral material Stages in coal formation (in order) 1. Plant material 2. Peat 3. Lignite 4. Bituminous Coal 5. Anthracite (metamorphic)
Sedimentary environments Sedimentary rocks contain evidence of past environments They provide information about climate (sediment size, presence or absence of water, sea level) Often contain fossils, which are indicators of both past climates and possible presence of fossil fuel.
Sedimentary environments Sedimentary environment or environment of deposition: A geographic setting where sediment is accumulating Determines the nature of the sediments that accumulate (grain size, grain shape, and other properties.) Today’s sedimentary rocks, tell us about past environments of deposition
Continental Sedimentary Environments Dominated by erosion and deposition associated with –Streams –Wind (eolian sandstones)
Sedimentary structures Provide information useful in the interpretation of Earth ’ s history Types of sedimentary structures Strata, or beds (most characteristic of sedimentary rocks) Cross-bedding Ripple marks Mud cracks
The Carbon Cycle This is the process by which carbon moves throughout the different “spheres” of the earth
Carbon Cycle – Hydrosphere and Biosphere In the hydrosphere, CO 2 –dissolves in seawater –is released by organic matter and carbonate rocks In the biosphere, CO 2 accumulates from: –photosynthesis of plant organisms –uptake by land and marine organisms to make shells or bones
Carbon Cycle – Atmosphere and Geosphere In the atmosphere, CO 2 accumulates from: –burning of fossil fuels –volcanic processes –weathering of carbonate rock –burning and decay of biomass –respiration In the geosphere, CO 2 accumulates as carbonate sediments and rocks.