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What are the processes involved in the

creation of sediments and sedimentary

Weathering - Process which acts at the

earth's surface to decompose and
breakdown rocks.
Erosion - The movement of weathered
material from the site of weathering. Primary
agent is gravity, but gravity acts in concert
with running water.

Sedimentary Rocks
Weathering = sediments and soils
Erosion and transport
Lithification and Diagensis

Transportation - Transporting medium usually water.
More rarely wind or glacial ice.
Deposition - Occurs when energy necessary to
transport particles is no longer available. Deposition due
to the gentle settling of mineral grains. Can also be result
of chemical precipitation due to changing conditions .
Lithification - Involves several steps. All taken together
are termed Diagenesis.
Compaction - Squeezing out of water.
Cementation - Precipitation of chemical
cement from trapped water and circulating water.
Recrystallization - Growth of grains in
to new equilibrium conditions

Weathering & Sediments

Types of Weathering
Mechanical & Chemical
Types of Sediment

What factors influence rates of

weathering and where on earth are these
rates highest?

Weathering & Sediments

Controlling Factors
Topography and latitude
Sea level
Tectonic Setting

Weathering Processes
Mechanical - physical disintegration
Thermal Weathering
Frost (ice) Wedging

Mechanical Weathering
Expansion and Contraction - the thermal heating and
cooling of rocks causing expansion and contraction.
Frost Action - Water freezes at night and expands because
the solid occupies greater volume. Action wedges the rocks
apart. Requires adequate supply of moisture; moisture must
be able to enter rock or soil; and temperature must move
back and forth over freezing point.
Exfoliation - process in which curved plates of rock are
stripped from a larger rock mass. Example Half Dome. Exact
mechanism uncertain but probably due to unloading.
Other types - Cracking of rocks by plant roots and burrowing

Mechanical Weathering
Exfoliation - removal of overburden
pressureMechanical Weathering
Wetting & Drying

Chemical Weathering
Chemical weathering - alteration of
chemistry and or
mineralogy of
source rock
most important agent of chemical
weathering = water
Atmospheric gasses

Chemical Weathering
Factors which effect the rate of chemical
weathering are:
Particle size - Smaller the particle size the
greater the surface area and hence the more
rapid the weathering
Climate (See Figure)
Type and amount of vegetation

Chemical Weathering
Hydrolysis - reaction between silicate
minerals and acids
Aluminum silicates = clays

Chemical Weathering
Solution - soluble minerals exposed to
meteoric water
Carbonic acid

Chemical Weathering
Oxidation - alteration of iron and
manganese in silicate minerals
Iron and manganese oxides
Reduction - soluble ferrous iron (Fe2+)

Chemical Weathering of Rocks

formation of carbonic acid
H2O + CO2 ------->> H2CO3

Acid then dissociates and the following happens

2KAlSi3O8 (feldspar)+ 2H+ + H2O ------->> Al2Si2O5(OH)4 (clay)+ 2K+ + 4SiO2

Quartz - slow process and largely ineffective. Quartz

remains quartz. Grains are rounded.
Feldspar - weathers to clay with the cations Na, Ca,
and K going into solution. Clays that can form include
kaolinite (pure aluminum silicate), illite and
montmorillonite. Factors which dictate clay formation
are (a) climate; (b) time; (c) parent material.
Muscovite - Same as above
Ferromagnesian minerals - weather to clay plus
highly insoluble iron oxides, essentially varieties of
limonite (rust).

Chemical and mechanical weathering

enhance each other
Mechanical - increases effective surface
Chemical - differential weathering
Where is both types of weathering most

Products of Weathering
Source-rock residues - siliciclastics
Secondary minerals - mudrocks
Soluble constituents - evaporites,
limestone, chert

Soil - Surficial material that forms due to weathering.
Includes an organic component.
Many different soil types.
Factors effecting their formation are:
1) Climate
2) Relief
3) Bedrock material
4) Time

1. O horizon - Organic layer

2. A horizon - Zone of leaching - Cations are leached from
this horizon by strongly acid solutions generated in the O
3. B horizon - Zone of Accumulation - Cations leached out of
the A horizon accumulate here. Horizon consists of clays, iron
and aluminum oxides. Deposition due to neutralization of acid
4. C horizon - Partially decomposed parent material. Lower
most zone.

Soil Types
Pedalfer - Named for the abundance of Al and Fe in the
B horizon. Occur in temperate, humid climates. Lie
generally east of the Mississippi River, correspond with
63 cm/yr rainfall contour.
Pedocal - Named for the accumulation of calcium
carbonate in the B horizon. Characteristic of temperate,
dry climates. Lie generally west of Miss River. Poorly
developed A horizon, B horizon is caliche (calcium
Laterites - Tropical soils thought to represent the end
products of weathering. Characterized by stark red color
and abundance of iron and aluminum oxides and lesser
clay minerals. Requires abundant rainfall.