6.5: Neritic and Pelagic Sediments
- Page ID
Neritic and Pelagic Sediments
The term neritic is used to described the shallow part of the ocean near a coast and overlying the continental shelf.
Neritic sediments are generally shallow water deposits formed close to land. They are dominated by lithogenous sources and are typically deposited quickly. Neritic sediments cover about ¼ of sea floor and are near landmasses.
The term pelagic means "of or relating to the open sea" particularly the upper layers of the ocean away from shore.
Pelagic sediments are generally deep-water deposits mostly oozes (see below) and windblown clays. They are typically finer-grained sediments that are deposited slowly. Because they are deposited far beyond the continental margins they are typically less lithogenous and more biogenous depending on biologic productivity. Pelagic sediments cover about ¾ of seafloor and are mostly in deep water.
The distribution of neritic or pelagic sediments is controlled by proximity to sources of lithogenous sediments (i.e.: landmasses) and the productivity of microscopic marine organisms.