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A sedimentary rock is a classification of rock that forms from layers of sediments deposited and consolidated at the bottom of oceans, lakes, or other bodies of water. These rocks are formed from sediment such as minerals and other organic matter.
See the fact file below for more information on the sedimentary rock or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Sedimentary Rocks worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Sedimentary rocks are formed when organic particles and minerals are compressed and cemented into solid layers at the bottom of the ocean.
- The processes involved in the formation of these rocks are collectively called sedimentation.
- Sediments are what we call the organic particles and minerals that form sedimentary rocks.
- Minerals, before they are deposited on the ocean floor, emerge from weathering and erosion and then transported by water, ice, wind, glaciers, or mass movement to the location where they are deposited.
- Organic particles are from dead aquatic creatures, mainly their body parts, shells, and even their waste that is floating around and gradually piles up on the ocean floor or other bodies of water.
- Dissolved minerals can also evaporate from water solution.
- These rocks cover a major area of the Earth’s rocky land surface.
- 73% of the Earth’s surface is covered by sedimentary rock.
- However, they only constitute a small percent of the Earth’s crust compared to the other types of rocks: the metamorphic and igneous types.
- They make up approximately 8% of the total volume of the Earth’s crust.
- Sedimentary rocks form layers called strata, which then form a structure called beds or bedding.
- Strata is composed of parallel layers that are stacked upon one another and are settled by natural processes.
- These layers extend across hundreds of thousands of square kilometers.
- The strata differs from each other in terms of color and structure.
- The bands are seen in cliffs, river banks, and quarries.
- Each stratum varies in thickness. Some are several millimeters thick, and some are more than a kilometer thick.
- Each band indicates a mode of deposition, whether that be on beach sand, sand dune, river silt, coal swamp, or lava bed.
- Beds, on the other hand, are the strata of sedimentary rocks that are distinguishable and nonidentical from the next overlying and underlying beds of sedimentary rocks.
- Beds are differentiated by rock type, mineral type, and particle size, among other things.
- The arrangement of strata is determined in the order that they were deposited.
- The differentiation of older beds from younger beds is called the law of superposition.
Importance of Study
- Sedimentology is the scientific study of how sedimentary rocks are formed and what their composition is.
- Sedimentology makes a huge part of the study of the Earth (geology), geography, and other fields in the Earth sciences, like geochemistry and pedology.
- Studying the sequence of sedimentary rock layers primarily leads to understanding the Earth’s history, climate, and life as a whole.
- The study of strata and sedimentary rocks is important in constructing roads, tunnels, houses, and other infrastructure.
- We also get important natural resources from sedimentary rocks such as fossil fuels, coal, ores, and even the water we drink.
- There have also been findings of sedimentary rocks on Mars.
- Sedimentary rocks are typically classified into four groups based on the how they are formed.
- Clastic sedimentary rocks are made up of fragments that were consolidated by silicate minerals.
- They may be composed of any type of mineral, but they are mainly composed of quartz, feldspar, mica, clay minerals, and lithic fragments.
- Common examples of clastic sedimentary rocks are conglomerate, breccia, sandstone, shale, and siltstone.
- Biochemical sedimentary rocks, also known as biogenic sedimentary rocks, are formed when organisms use components dissolved in water or air to build the tissues of their body parts.
- Common biochemical sedimentary rocks are limestone, coal, and chert.
- Chemical sedimentary rocks emerge when mineral elements in a solution become supersaturated which leads it to precipitate.
- Common chemical sedimentary rocks include oolitic limestone, gypsum, barite, halite or rock salt, and sylvite.
- The fourth classification consists of sedimentary rocks formed by impacts, volcanism, and other processes which cannot be classified into the other three.
Clastic Rock Examples
- Conglomerate is formed by consolidated rounded pebbles.
- Breccia is formed by consolidated angular pebbles.
- Sandstone is formed by consolidated grains of sand. It forms the metamorphic rock quartzite.
- Siltstone is formed by consolidated silt particles.
- Shale is formed by consolidated silt particles that are finer than the siltstone’s particles.
Biochemical/Chemical Rock Examples
- Limestone is composed mainly of calcite, which is common in the shells of aquatic organisms. It is also formed when the metamorphic rock marble is brought under extreme heat and pressure over time.
- Chalk is a white and soft form of a limestone.
- Halite, or rock salt, is formed when a body of seawater evaporates and the salt is deposited and crystallized as halite.
- Selenite is composed of calcium sulfate.
- Chert is composed of silicates.
- Coal is formed by organic fragments of plant matter.
Sedimentary Rocks Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about sedimentary rocks across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Sedimentary Rocks worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a sedimentary rock which is a classification of rock that forms from layers of sediments deposited and consolidated at the bottom of oceans, lakes, or other bodies of water. These rocks are formed from sediment such as minerals and other organic matter.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Sedimentary Rocks Facts
- The Right Terms
- Forming Process
- The Earth and Its Rocks
- Rock or Roll
- Classify The Rocks
- Odd One Out
- Sedimentary Blanks
- In My Own Words
- How Important?
- Sedimentary Song
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Link will appear as Sedimentary Rocks Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 6, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.