Chapter 2: Section 3 - Sedimentary Rocks and the Geologic History of Your Community

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In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 3: Sedimentary Rocks and the Geologic History of Your Community.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use models that examine the processes that form sedimentary rocks.
  • Carry out an investigation that identifies a variety of sedimentary rock specimens according to their physical properties.
  • Analyze data on a geologic map and legend to locate sedimentary rocks in your region.
  • Obtain information about how the formation of sedimentary rocks is connected to plate tectonic processes.

Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about sedimentary rocks and energy resources, visit the following websites:

    Fossil Energy Stored in Sedimentary Rocks, Kansas Geological Society
    Describes the environments in which fossil fuels are formed.  Go to different pages to see the textures of sandstones and carbonates.

Fossil Energy Stored in Shale and Sand, Bureau of Land Management
Basic information about oil shale and tar sand resources. Includes photos of oil shale and tar sands and associated recovery activities.

Hydrocarbon Reservoir Rocks, University of Calgary
Describes the processes that sedimentary rocks go through to become a hydrocarbon reservoir.

How Coal Is Formed, Kentucky Educational Television and the American Coal Foundation
Webpage and video that gives a brief overview of how coal is formed.

Seal, Shale, Shale Gas, Shale Oil, etc., USGS
Use the USGS Energy Glossary to learn more about key terms.

  1. To learn more about sedimentary basins, visit the following websites:

    World Map of Sedimentary Basins, Schlumberger
    Map that shows the locations of onshore and offshore basins.

Maps of Sedimentary Basins in United States, USGS
Follow the links on the page to four figures showing basins of different ages across the country.

Sedimentary Basins, Encyclopedia Britannica
Describes sedimentary environments and their relationship to sedimentary basins.

Types of Sedimentary Basins, Vancouver Island University
Block diagrams show different kinds of sedimentary basins and their tectonic setting.


To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Clastic, Chemical, and Organic Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks, USGS
Describes clastic, chemical, and organic sedimentary rocks in simple terms. Illustrations accompany each description and provides links to terms in a glossary.

The Making of Sedimentary Rocks, USGS
Part of the schoolyard geology series. This site includes descriptions of each stage in the formation of sedimentary rocks.

Explore Collections of Sedimentary Rocks Online, Smithsonian
Browe the samples in the museum's collection then build your own virtual field book.

Sedimentary Rocks, Tulane University
A useful description of sedimenary rocks.

Geology Image Gallery, University of North Carolina
Prof. Allen Glazner's collection provides images of sedimentary rocks (click on the slide viewer for captions).

Characteristics of Sedimentary Rocks, University of British Columbia Okanagan
The properties of sedimentary rocks are introduced in this illustrated section from an online textbook (Fundamentals of Physical Geography, Michael Pidwirny, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Canada). Key terms are linked to definitions in an accompanying glossary.

Chemical Sedimentary Rocks, California State University Long Beach
Explains the formation of chemical sedimentary rocks.

Classifying Sedimentary Rocks

Sedimentary Rocks, Pamela Gore, Georgia Perimeter College
Part of a physical geology course, these notes provide a brief, illustrated introduction to sedimentary rocks, covering terrigenous sedimentary rocks (also called detrital or clastic), chemical/biochemical sedimentary rocks (including the evaporites, the carbonates and the siliceous rocks), organic sedimentary rocks, and other types.

Sedimentary Rocks and Sedimentary Rock Classification, Ocean Drilling Program
Describes the major types of sedimentary rocks and the different settings in which they form.

Structures and Bedforms in Sedimentology, USGS
Provides information, including animations, on structures in sedimentary rocks such as cross bedding and what they indicate about past currents.