​Geology 324 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Dr. Ryan Tucker

Course Synopsis

Throughout the semester, students are introduced to the basic principles of sedimentology: (1) uniformitarianism, i.e. ‘the present is the key to the past’; (2) superposition, i.e. ‘the younging orientation is critical to interpretation’; and (3) original horizontality, i.e. ‘most sediments are deposited horizontally’.  Sedimentology is the study of the processes of erosion, transport and deposition of sediments in both modern- and palaeoenvironments. Sediment is generated by the erosion of igneous, metamorphic, volcanic, or previously lithified sedimentary rock(s). In the class, students learn the fundamentals on how to properly identify the four groups of sedimentary rocks: clastic, carbonates, evaporates, precipitates.  Coupled with this is the study of Stratigraphy, a study that contextualizes the horizontal and vertical relation between sedimentary layers.

Specific methods discussed within this course include (1) description of outcrops; (2) mapping of rock units; (3) descriptions of rock cores;  (4) description of grains and minerals; and (5) determination of rock age. Additional sedimentological methods are (1) diagenetic analysis (2) sequence stratigraphy, (3) basin analysis. Using these methods in combination will enable a student/geologist to reconstruct the depositional history of an entire basin or continental platform.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Sedimentology

    • Sedimentary processes, Sedimentary structures, Facies analysis, Sequence analysis, Basin analysis

  • Stratigraphy

    • Cyclostratigraphy, Sequence stratigraphy, Chronostratigraphy, Magnetostratigraphy, Biostratigraphy

Course Goals

The goal of this course is to acquire knowledge of the processes involved in the formation of sedimentary rocks and to develop skills to interpret sedimentary rocks and reconstruct their depositional environment.

Study Outcomes

  • Knowledge of different depositional environments.

  • Recognition of depositional environments from rock record.

  • Ability to communicate scientifically on sedimentary rocks

Study Materials and Textbooks

• Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, S. Boggs Jr., 2006, Pearson
• Unlocking the Stratigraphical Record; Advances in Modern Stratigraphy, 1998, P. Doyle and M.R. Bennett, Wiley & Sons
• Sedimentary Rocks in the Field; A Colour Guide, 2006, D.A.V. Stow, Manson Websites

Learning Opportunities

Students are encouraged to consult text books and journals on own initiative. During the course suggestions for literature will be given in the classroom and/or through SunLearn. Partial lecture notes will also be available on SunLearn.