7.S: Weathering, Erosion, and Sedimentary Rocks (Summary)
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Sedimentary rocks are grouped into two main categories: clastic (detrital) and chemical. Clastic (detrital) rocks are made of mineral clasts or sediment that lithifies into solid material. Sediment is produced by the mechanical or chemical weathering of bedrock and transported away from the source via erosion. Sediment that is deposited, buried, compacted, and sometimes cemented becomes clastic rock. Clastic rocks are classified by grain size; for example sandstone is made of sand-sized particles. Chemical sedimentary rocks comes from minerals precipitated out an aqueous solution and is classified according to mineral composition. The chemical sedimentary rock limestone is made of calcium carbonate. Sedimentary structures have textures and shapes that give insight on depositional histories. Depositional environments depend mainly on fluid transport systems and encompass a wide variety of underwater and above ground conditions. Geologists analyze depositional conditions, sedimentary structures, and rock records to interpret the paleogeographic history of a region.