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10.1: Introduction

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    We are particularly interested in the history and events that occur on the surface of the Earth both because it is easier to directly observe and test, and has direct relevance to our lives and our own history. Sedimentary rocks are the pages in which history is written since they contain powerful environmental indicators, traces of life, and chemical signatures that can inform us about a wealth of subjects from the occurrence of ancient catastrophes to the productivity of life. The identification of sedimentary rocks is more than applying names since each name is a loaded term that conveys information regarding its history, where it was formed, potentially when it was formed, and the processes that lead to its formation. Each sedimentary rock is a puzzle and by identifying a set of rocks, how they are layered, the fossils within, and patterns in the rocks a geologist can reconstruct an entire environment and ecosystem. Solving these puzzles is both an academic exercise to better understand the world around us as well as a tool for finding the resources that are important to our lives. In particular, fossil fuels as well as many other natural resources are, or are contained within, sedimentary rocks such as coal, natural gas, petroleum, salt, and the materials that go into wallboard or in the making of cement. Therefore, a better understanding of sedimentary rocks and how and where they are formed directly influences your everyday life.


    Key Terms

    • Beach Depositional Environments
    • Biochemical Sedimentary Rocks
    • Chemical Sedimentary Rocks
    • Chemical Weathering
    • Clastic Sedimentary Rocks
    • Continental Environments
    • Deep Marine Depositional Environments
    • Deltas
    • Eolian Depositional Environments
    • Erosion
    • Fluvial Depositional Environments
    • Glacial Depositional Environments
    • Lacustrine Depositional Environments
    • Marine Environments
    • Maturity
    • Mechanical Weathering
    • Organic Sedimentary Rocks
    • Reef Depositional Environments
    • Sedimentary Structures
    • Shallow Marine Depositional Environments
    • Tidal Mudflat Depositional Environments
    • Transitional Environments

    This page titled 10.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Deline, Harris & Tefend (GALILEO Open Learning Materials) .

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