Sedimentary Rocks

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Date Submitted: 08/30/2011 10:00 PM

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Sedimentary Rocks


Sedimentary Rocks

Looking into the inner workings of the strata, the geologist sees a world that revolves around layers of sediment that range from baseball sized boulders to a substance finer than a grain of flour. These layers of sediment, combined with igneous rock, make up the layer of the earth’s crust and deeper into the Lithosphere. In some cases sediment makes its way even into the Asthenosphere when two colliding plates cause one of them to subduct. Looking into how plate tectonics affects sedimentation, will give a deeper understanding into the ever changing rock cycle that geologists claim is the ever moving constant throughout all working parts of the earth system.

To understand how plate tectonics affect the sediment, we first have to go back to how they originate and develop. It is at this point, the building of rock, which starts a rock recycle and ultimately builds the surface of plates that either build mountain ranges like the Himalayas through plate collision, or can cause the building of volcanic arc chains in the ocean such as the Hawaiian islands by plate subduction.

There are three main sediment categories that make up rocks; clastic, chemical, and biogenic. The first one clastic, which is the most common sediment, is made up of the weathering and erosion of igneous rock around the planet. As weathering by mechanical or chemical means batters the igneous rock and sandstone formations, the particles that break loose are considered sediment. The sediment size obviously differs in range from dust to boulders. It is carried by different elements that transport it to different areas of the region and beyond. A few of the transports are water, wind, and ice.

The second sediment of the three is chemical sediment. This sediment is a direct derivative of dissolved matter that has precipitated from various bodies of water. The Bonneville salt flats are a prime example of this sediment. There are actually many uses...