Sedimentation: Making Sedimentary Rocks
Most sedimentary rocks are made up of a combination of several types of sediments. Sediments may be composed of mud, sand, and pebbles, as well as the remains of dead plants and animals. These sediments are usually deposited in the sea by rivers and waves. As millions of years pass, the sediments accumulate layer by layer. The processes of compaction, the compression of material, and cementation, the "glueing" together of sediment grains by dissolved minerals, eventually convert the layers into sedimentary rock. In this activity you will observe the process of sedimentation.
Jar with a lid
Fine silt (about 5 tbsp)
- Fill the jar about three-quarters full of water.
- Add the silt and put the lid on the jar securely.
- Shake the jar briskly back and forth for about twenty seconds.
- Place the jar on the table and watch what happens for the next two to three minutes.
- What did the shaking of the silt in the jar represent?
- What does the silt represent in this activity?
- What happened when you left the jar undisturbed after the shaking?
- The sedimentary accumulation rate for an area is about 0.15 centimeter a year.
- How long would it take for 10 centimeters of sediment to deposit?
- Processes that break up the Earth's crust.
- Small pieces of sediment from broken rock.
- The sediment slowly dropped to the bottom of the jar.
- 66.6 years.
Repeat this activity a few times, each time varying the temperature of the water in the jar. Does the temperature of the water make a difference in the sedimentation rate?
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